I’m Too Cynical for This Sh*t

I’m Too Cynical for This Sh*t

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

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Hello and happy Wednesday. Are you excited that there’s actually going to be a review today? Me too, although I’m also a bit nervous because I’m sure today’s post is going to be full of unpopular opinions. A few weeks ago, I read Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith, and let’s just say, a lot has changed since I was the girl who raved about her fluffy, super romantic novels. Let’s get started, shall we?

I started this book while I was on vacation, and I was on a reading slump, so I actually hoped that this fluffy, cute, and let’s be honest, quick and easy read would get me out of it. I think in a way I underestimated this story, and I sort of forgot that Jen E. Smiths’s novels often have some depth in them, and they deal with family issues, not just romance. To me, that’s why I was so surprised at how original the beginning was because I’d never read a story that started with someone buying a lottery ticket. Another thing I appreciated was the fact that the chapters were short, especially because this book is borderline big in my opinion, with a little over four hundred pages.

Something else I liked about this book, and then again, it’s something I’d underestimated in Jennifer E. Smith’s books, is the fact that she doesn’t leave loose ends or is unnecessarily mysterious. She just tells things as they are without adding drama. I’m talking about when she introduced Alice’s cousin. There weren’t any awkward scenes that had the readers wondering who he was or anything like that, which happens more often than not in YA novels. I’ve read my fair share of Jen E. Smith’s books, but I think this is the first in which the main character is in love with her best friend.

Now that we’ve said all the good, let’s start with the bad and the ugly. Let’s start with the love triangle, okay? That’s something I have no passionate feelings about. I think sometimes love triangles are great and they add drama and they make me change my mind a thousand times, and sometimes I feel like they didn’t even need to exist in the first place. This is probably going to be a spoiler, so if you don’t want to read it, just leave for now and come back when you’ve finished the book. I won’t get mad, I promise. So anyway, this book has a love triangle, right? And it’s your typical love triangle including this guy who’s a complete dickhead and who only realizes he’s going to lose the girl he loves to this amazing, genuine guy who actually makes the girl happy. Guess who the girl picks. Ugh.

After that, it all went to shit for me because I was already upset that I knew how this book was going to end up and there was nothing I could do but keep reading and rant in here. I was so mad, that I caught a gem, the “breath I didn’t know I was holding” gem. Yes, even queens like Jen E. Smith, fall for that one. And while we’re at it, what’s with the editing issues, Jen? Besides that being super annoying for me, I found it uncommon for a book written by this author.

Before we finished this very weird review I must admit that, yes, I cried a few times here and there. That’s probably the “ugly” part of this review because I’m pretty sure I resemble Kim Kardashian when I cry. Now, time for the important question. There are three Jennifer E. Smith novels that I haven’t read. I don’t know what they’re about, and if I’m completely honest, I don’t think I even have them in my wishlist. However, it’s up to you. Should I read these three novels? Or one or two of them? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

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To All the Fluff I’ve Loved Before

To All the Fluff I’ve Loved Before

Hello and happy Wednesday. Number one, please dear teenagers who love Noah Centineo don’t come at me after reading this post because I was reading this series when you still thought boys were dumb, and number two, isn’t this title genius? Today I’m going to share with you my (probably very controversial) thoughts on Always and Forever, Lara Jean, which is the last book in the To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before series written by Jenny Han.

Right when I started reading this book, I felt like I was reconnecting with an old crush. I mean, I’d read the second book of the series a long while ago and kinda didn’t like it, but I also was expecting to see what happened in this one. I obviously already knew what was going to happen at the end, but I wanted to know how that happened. So, basically, like with an old crush, I felt that the spark was kind of still there, but trying to pick up where we’d left off was awkward.

I guess now I understand more that feeling, and it’s simply that I outgrew the book. I mean yes, I was like twenty or so when I read To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before, but beyond age, I’ve kind of grown cynical when it comes to such fluffy romance-filled stories. I’m still down for some love in my novels, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just not into the rose-tinted, cotton candy world where Lara Jean appears to live. And as sad as I am to say this, I think Peter Kavinsky’s character also got sort of “contaminated” by this fluff. I felt that, yes, I still loved him (like I still do most of my all crushes. No I don’t, I’m just kidding. Honestly.) but that he was just too loving and too caring and too perfect. And that’s fake. That made the conversations between him and Lara Jean just unnatural and scripted, like really the author wasn’t even trying anymore.

So yeah, I was totally disenchanted by this book. If we’re going to continue with the boy analogies, it was like that moment when I realized I no longer had a crush on a guy and all the stuff he did that I thought was cute became annoying. And I really had to make an effort at some point to continue reading, just for all times’ sake and in a way, just to “get it over with” already, but I’m telling you, it was hard. At times I found myself super bored wanting to read something, and I’d see that book and think “please, anything but this.”

One of the things that I maybe was more accepting of in the past but that I couldn’t stand this time was how Lara Jean referred to her mom and dad as “Mommy” and “Daddy.” You’re eighteen years old, woman! Grow up. Call them whatever you want but don’t refer to them like that. Please. And, on that note, I hated how childish she was, and how mean she acted towards Peter sometimes. You’re not in kindergarten, sweetie, you’re a senior in high school.

Also, Miss Han, and this is a favor I ask you on behalf of all the non-American readers you have out there. Please stop referencing Hamilton every two lines. You might get it, but we don’t, and we don’t have the time or energy to google them. Stick to something global, like Harry Potter.

Did you read this book or are you planning to? If/when you do, share your thoughts on it in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

21 Mini Reviews

21 Mini Reviews

Hello and happy Wednesday. I recently read 21 Proms and I was over the moon. Seriously, the fact that so many awesome authors collaborated in this book made me feel like going to a reunion party with a bunch of my old friends. Now because each of the 21 stories was written by a different author, I only think it’s fair to dedicate a little time to each, so that’s what we’re doing today. It’s going to be a long post, so be sure to grab some snacks and water and to get really comfy. Let’s get started, shall we?

 

 

You Are a Prom Queen, Dance Dance Dance by Elizabeth Craft 

I feel that the main character of this story was way too harsh, and I got the feeling that were she a real person, she’d hate me and everything I stand for. I honestly could relate more to her best friend and how she was obsessing over a guy who’s not her prom date. Yep, that was me. Also yes, as an afterthought, I’m pretty sure the hating would be mutual. I didn’t think this story was a good opener to the book.

All She Wants by Cecily von Ziegesar 

Oh, I so related to Brooke and her private-school life. Yes, I was that Catholic all-girls school girl. I fell in love with that story almost immediately and from the start I knew it was going to be super cute. Like, honestly, I only have fluffy adjectives to describe this story. It was so nice, and I loved the Molly Ringwald references and Brooke’s innocence. This should’ve been the opening story.

In Vodka Veritas by Holly Black 

This is not your “typical” prom story, okay? I could relate to the main character’s fear of prom approaching and not having a date. Again, been there. If you’ve read Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins, then you probably thought that the prom resembled the Cotillion scene. I totally thought that, and still, I also thought it was oddly cute for some reason.

Your Big Night by Sarah Mlynowski 

I was into this story from the start because I absolutely adore second person narration and I know it’s not something easy to pull off. I was all for the text-message inserts. You know I love that kind of stuff, and I think this story had many great elements. Sure, I could relate to Drew overthinking everything, and not just strictly prom stuff. The only bit I didn’t like was the whole not eating/dieting. You know I find this problematic and honestly the story could’ve done without that bit.

Off Like a Prom Dress by Billy Merrell 

I don’t have much to say about this one because it really was super short. It’s written in verse, and it’s a cute little thing.

“Mom called, she says you have to go to prom” by Adrienne Maria Vrettos 

This is one of those stories I couldn’t believe it wasn’t like a complete novel because I felt that there was so much in it. The main character is allergic to cats, just like I am, and I always like it when I can relate to what I’m reading. This story is really deep in terms of the main character’s family situation, as well as her own. There are issues regarding a dysfunctional family and a character with a mild cognitive disability, so it clearly goes beyond just “prom.”

Better Be Good to Me by Daniel Ehrenhaft 

I love the fact that this author sort of twisted the rules and actually had the dad tell the story of his own prom. I loved the formatting of the stories, with the subheadings, which may or may not have been song titles, and then an insert of a letter (yes, a full letter). Again, I felt like I was reading a whole novel. This was probably my favorite story of the book, and I will definitely be looking up this author in the future.

Three Fates by Aimee Friedman

Again, I totally relate with the whole not having a prom date issue. I also asked a guy and got rejected, and then found out he was going to prom with another girl, so, yes, that happens. All in all this was a cute story. Super improbable, but still cute.

The Question: A Play in One Act by Brent Hartinger 

Yes, this is a play, which is cool because it means a change in the format in which most of these stories were written. I really liked the fact that the main character was a guy because there’s a clear majority of female main characters. This is a very angsty piece, full of tension and anticipation. Prom is one of the themes, but is not like what they whole thing is about, which was pretty cool.

Shutter by Will Leitch 

This story is told from the main character’s dad’s perspective, but it’s actually about the main character’s prom. There is family drama involved, which makes this story way deeper than the other “typical” prom ones. It was good, kind of heartbreaking, really.

Geechee Girs Dancin’ by Jacqueline Woodson 

This story takes place in the 50’s and is written in a way that for me is odd. I know it’s like a jargon of the time or something, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, English is not my first language and sometimes that shows when I’m reading a certain kind of story. I don’t think I really “got” this story, and I think it has to do with the language barrier.

How I Wrote to Toby by E. Lockhart 

I really loved the format of this story because it’s actually a countdown to prom, so in a way it’s kind of like a diary with each day’s headings. I could relate to this story in the sense that I know what it feels like to pretend that everything is okay in your life when in reality your family is going through major shit. I know, and it’s horrible. This story is truly heartbreaking and it really got to me.

A Six-Pack of Bud, a Fifth of Whiskey, and Me by Melissa de la Cruz 

I don’t have much to say about this story either. It’s autobiographic, and I thought it was super cute. It also made me want to share my prom with you, so check out Throwback Thursday.

Primate the Prom by Libba Bray 

This was a very odd read because I thought the main character referred to his boyfriend as the “gorilla” because he was big and tall. Well, not really. This was the story of a guy who actually dated a gorilla. It did give me Will Grayson + Tiny Cooper vibes, and I think the whole gorilla thing was a metaphor.

Apology #1 by Ned Vizzini 

I got the feeling that this story was also autobiographic, and it’s actually pretty cool because it’s the guy explaining why he stood up a girl. I don’t know, I really like it when we get both sides of a story.

See Me by Lisa Ann Sandell 

I really liked that the main character of this story was an “invisible girl” because I think that was necessary. What I didn’t like was that this girl was just sitting around, waiting to be asked. Sorry, that’s not how we do things in 2018.

Prom for Fat Girls by Rachel Cohn 

Literally the only note I took was “judging by the title, I’m sure this story will at least be interesting.” It was okay, but not outstanding.

Chicken by Jodi Lynn Anderson 

This story kind of reminded me of the week I spent in rural Maine because everything seems so…well, rural. It’s about unrequited love and going to prom as buddies, which weirdly enough, is a topic that is not really explored much in this book.

The Backup Date by Leslie Margolis 

I thought this was your typical “rich people” prom story. The hidden romance factor, though, was what really made it interesting.

Lost Sometimes by David Levithan 

My hopes were up in the sky for this story because I hadn’t read anything by David Levithan in a while. It was alright but it wasn’t the best, and honestly I was sort of disappointed.

The Great American Morp by John Green 

I think closing with a John Green story was absolutely genius. I simply LOVE his writing style and I was super hooked with this particular story. I know a girl just like Maggie, the main character, and she would’ve totally thrown a morp with her best friend. Although, okay, Maggie had way better luck than the girl I know.

We’ve come to the end and if you’ve made it this far, then treat yourself to an ice cream because you rock. In the comments below, let me know which of these authors I listed is your favorite and why.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

I Don’t Know Why I’m Disappointed

I Don’t Know Why I’m Disappointed

Hello and happy Wednesday. I gave Jay Asher another chance by reading What Light, and yes, as the title indicates, I was disappointed. It was partly my fault, though, because this is a Christmas novel and I decided to read it in the summer, so clearly the mood and the vibe weren’t there. Of course, there’s more I have to say about this novel, so just keep reading this post. Let’s get started, shall we?

We all know what I thought about Thirteen Reasons Why, so it’s no surprise that my expectations towards this book and the author in general were pretty low. It wasn’t that I was determined to hate this novel, but I also kind of knew that I wasn’t going to love it. Again, the fact that I read this novel in June and it was set in Christmas didn’t help at all. Even if in Colombia we don’t have seasons, I’m a season kind of girl: I read about love in February, vacation in the summer, magic and horror in October, and yes, I like Christmas stories in December. There are many books that aren’t themed like this, or tied to a specific time of the year, but if one is, I want to read it in that time.

This story has nothing to do with the 13 Reasons Why universe (thankfully), but there are some similarities. There’s the family going through money issues, just like Hannah’s parents. I might be exaggerating here, but I really don’t like it when authors hold on to common places like this one and just exploit them in all their books. It just seems unoriginal.

So okay, at first I thought this was the typical story of the girl who moves away and has to start over or whatever. It’s not. I mean, she does move but only for the Christmas season every year, and she’s done that for her entire life. Still, her friends make a huge deal about it, like there’s a chance they might not see each other ever again. No overreacting at all, as you can see.

I believe the main character is called Sierra, but I just can’t remember. Anyway, she does go away for the holidays because her parents sell Christmas trees in California and oh, she meets a guy. And she’s just like me when I meet a new guy because even if she literally just saw him for the first time and doesn’t know his name, she’s considering that maybe they can date during the holidays. I clearly can’t criticize that, now can I?

Sierra’s love interest is not a regular guy because that would be too cliché, right? No, instead, he’s all mysterious and has a deep dark secret. Original, Mr. Asher. As you can see, I wasn’t really too thrilled about this book. I mean, I usually devour novels like this, especially if they’re in physical formal. I actually thought I could finish this entire book in my flight from Bogota to Madrid, because it lasts ten hours. Instead of that, I alternated between reading and watching movies.

I honestly got bored at how normal the book got. I mean, yes, we have the guy with the deep dark secret which is then revealed, so actually now he has a deep dark past everyone knows about, but other than that, it’s all a bunch of teenage drama and the main character overthinking everything. Here is where I could have appreciated a little more 13-Reasons-Why kinda drama, at least something small and juicy. I mean, I even wrote in my notes that I thought Caleb, Sierra’s love interest, reminded me of Steve from Full House. I’ll talk more about him in another post.

Just to wrap up this review, I want to say that yes, despite my initial reservations and despite how cliché the story was, I did find this book entertaining. I think I would’ve found it way more entertaining had I read it during the holidays, which was totally my fault for always going into books blindly. This is not a BAD book, okay? It’s simply not great, and this is my personal opinion. I mean, I’m 24 years old, I’ve become a little bit of a cynic with time, and this type of novel is just not my cup of tea anymore. Last year though, trust me, I would’ve lived and died for this story, but my taste in books has clearly changed.

Now help me out here and send me recommendations for holiday novels you love so that maybe I can get in the spirit.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

This Reminds Me Of…

This Reminds Me Of…

Hello and happy Wednesday. I have read my fair share of YA novels, so I think I have all the clichés covered and I can easily make associations between books based on a particular element of situation. If you’ve read some of my reviews, you know I actually say things along the lines of “this thing gave me major X vibes” or “this other situation reminds me a lot of Y.” Today, instead of sharing an in-depth review of Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill, I want to tell you about what this novel reminded me of. Let’s get started, shall we?

I have to clarify something and it’s the fact that this is the second novel from Lauren Morrill I read, and for some reason I struggled a lot with the author’s writing style. Yes, as I kept reading I sort of eased into the story, but at first I wasn’t having that much fun.

One of our main characters is into figure skating (or something of the sort, I don’t know if that’s the actual technical name), and that instantly reminded me of Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler. There are also family situations that indirectly interfere with the main character’s career, and that also made me think of Bittersweet. I reviewed that novel a while ago, so you can click here and check it out.

Lauren Morrill is the only author of this novel, but we have two characters who alternatively tell the story from their perspective. This kind of thing has been done by several authors, however, for some reason I was particularly reminded of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

Like in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, our two main characters share the name Sloane Jacobs. They meet and decide to trade places for the summer. I know, Parent Trap much?

Lastly, remember I told you there was some family drama involved? Well, one of the girl’s dad is actually a Senator and there’s some sort of scandal around him. That made me think of This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.

Have you read Being Sloane Jacobs or any of the books I mentioned in this post? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Holly Bourne Did It Again

Holly Bourne Did It Again

Hello and happy Wednesday. As much as I love reading, it takes a pretty awesome book to get me really obsessed, yet somehow two of the novels I’ve read by Holly Bourne had that effect in me. Today I want to share with you my thoughts on The Manifesto On How to Be Interesting. Let’s get started, shall we?

I think How Hard Can Love Be? set the bar too high for this book. I often go in blindly, with no expectations, unless I know and love the author already. This was the case for The Manifesto On How to Be Interesting.

Right from the start, I notice this book would deal with heavier stuff. Bree, the main character, self harms, so if that is a somewhat sensitive or problematic issue for you, I wouldn’t advise you to read it.

Bree is a very complex character and I had a tough time sympathizing with her. I couldn’t relate to her and stuff she was going through being an outcast at school. In all honesty, she reminded me of someone I met when I was 17, and who thought they were above all the “popular” kids. I did relate to her having a crush on a teacher, and I also knew a guy like Hugo d’Felance. He also had an interesting last name and a hot body, but the similarities ended there.

This novel was amazingly written, and even if I didn’t relate to the main character at all, I loved Holly Bourne’s style and was still consumed by the story. I also loved the fact that the author played with different formats, inserting excerpts of Bree’s blog posts here and there.

Bree undergoes huge changes throughout the novel, and I especially loved how her relationship with her mom evolves. We also see different aspects of Bree’s personality that make her more likeable, at least in my opinion. There were some bits in which I felt like I was transported to 2011 and was 17 again, with all the hormones and the angst, and I wasn’t hating it in the slightest.

In the comments below I’d like you to describe yourself in high school? Were you popular or the outcast? Or were all those tags nonexistent like in my school and everybody just did their thing?

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

A Reader-Friendly Book

A Reader-Friendly Book

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Hello and happy Wednesday. This is another review with a boring thumbnail and the reason is that I gave away a bunch of my books in anticipation to my trip to Baltimore. Today’s post is for those people who struggle with reading, whether you love it or not. You get overwhelmed by big books (trust me, I do too), you get easily distracted when paragraphs are too long or plots are too slow, and you get discouraged by tiny prints with barely any spacing between lines. Well, I recently read Unboxed by Non Pratt, and I’d like to recommend it to you today because you’re probably in need of *that book* that will get you full-on into reading.

This book’s format is intentionally reader-friendly, and it says so in the last page. It is small in size, but the font and the separation between the lines make the reading super comfortable. I loved that because I’ve always dreaded those reading snobs who think *some books* aren’t just meant to be read by *some people,* like this was school and they wanted to create a cool kids club or something. Publishers who adapt their books for diverse readers are doing things right.

Now I really enjoyed the story itself because we get diversity from page one in terms of the sexual orientation, the ethnicity, and the family background of the characters. This is not a spoiler, by the way, but we also find out that the main characters all share a mutual friend who died. The main characters actually used to be friends, but they parted ways a few years ago. This concept of estranged friends is cool and original, in my opinion.

I really liked the fact that the chapters in this novel are super short, so even if you just want to do some light reading or whatever, this is a great option for you. I also like the fact that it all takes place in one night. I don’t know why I’m drawn to those kinds of “real-time” stories.

The plot of this novel revolves around these four estranged friends who get together  in order to open a time capsule they hid five years ago. They do this because it was requested by a fifth member of the group who’d recently gotten ill and died. Of course, we get to read about the things in the capsule and what it meant to the characters. It is over all a nice read, and a reminder to always be close to the people we love the most, if not physically, at least keeping the contact with them.

Now in the comments below I’d like you to tell me what you’d include in a time capsule and why.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila