Sunday, October 31, 2010


The winner of the MEXICAN ENOUGH give-away is.......

Elsie C.

An email has been sent to our winner, who has 48 hours to claim their prize.

Thank you and stay tuned for the next give-away!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Review: Estrella's Quinceañera

Today, we have one of today's Latina YA authors submitting a book review to us.

Author Sandra C. Lopez has reviewed Estrella's Quinceañera by Malin Alegria.

Estrella Alvarez is turning fifteen, and she's not happy about it. For as long as she can remember, her mother has been planning an elaborate quinceañera, complete with a mariachi band, cheesy decorations, and a hideous dress. Estrella is so over it. She'd much rather have an understated dinner party at a posh restaurant downtown that way, she can invite her two best friends from private school, who have no idea Estrella lives in the barrio. Even though Estrella tries to keep her home life a secret from her school friends, things get even more complicated when she falls for Speedy, a cholo whom her new friends and her parents would definitely disapprove of.

Caught between her family's wishes and the allure of her sophisticated friends, Estrella is forced to make some tough choices. This funny, touching book follows one girl's struggle to figure out who she really wants to be.

Reviewed by: Sandra Lopez, Author of Esperanza: A Latina Story and Beyond the Gardens


Review: What do most of us do when the topic of quinceañeras come up? We sigh, we roll our eyes, we cringe so hard that we shrivel up inside like a burnt out match. The feeling's mutual in just about everyone. That was exactly how Estrella Alvarez felt in this story.

Even though I have never had a quince myself (thank god,) this story gave me warm nostalgia as I recalled my own years of growing up in a barrio. I remembered the "cholo losers" and the busy-body neighbors; the buttinski mother and the crazy relatives, everthing. You can't help but empathize with Estrella when it comes to how her family views her as the last gleaming hope for a good education, or how she feels like an alien in the world of her rich, prep-school friends. Don't we all feel that way at some point?

I loved Estrella's surly and sarcastic tone as she described every grueling (and often, embarrassing) detail of the party planning. I also liked how Speedy wasn't your typical "cholo" but actually a nice guy (so few of them left in the barrio.) I did think Estrella needed to relax and slow down on growing up. She should've enjoyed hanging out with Speedy as a friend/person instead of concentrating so hard on getting her first kiss from him.

One unique thing about this book was that each chapter had a definition of barrio slang that you couldn't help but smile at. This was a relatable story of finding one's self while coming of age in a dark, scary world. Great job, Malin!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Review: Cinderella Lopez

This week, we have reviewed Cinderella Lopez by Berta Platas

Overworked, underappreciated 24-year-old Cynthia Lopez meets her Prince Charming at a Starbucks, unaware that he is Eric Sandoval, 29-year-old CEO of AmerCon—the company that just acquired RTV, the television station where Cyn and her glam-fabulous VJ stepsisters work. Keeping their professional lives secret, Cyn and Eric begin a joyful courtship that comes to an abrupt halt at the RTV Music Awards, when dating and workplace politics, miscommunication and the jealous, meddling steps conspire to tear them apart. Platas imbues her story with Latin spice and a dance hall pace, and populates her New York with vibrant, virtuous heroes and deliciously wicked villains. The result is another finely tuned if formulaic brain vacation for working chicas of all stripes.

Reviewed by: Bela M.

Review: Cinderella Lopez is a heartwarming story of love at first sight.
I liked that this story incorporated some of the details from the Disney classic. I liked that Platas resurrected a classic fairy tale story and added her own Spanish flavor and comedy spice. My favorite scene was when Cyn first takes a walk with Eric to the park. They are sitting on the ground, and Cyn tags Eric and he begins chasing her all over the place. They were just like two kids playing--fun and innocent. And I think that's an intregal part of love--to have that connection and to never stop having fun.
The only thing that was missing was the glass slipper scene. I mean, there was the handsome prince, Eric, the evil stepsisters, and the fairy godmother, who was disguised as two gay men. But where was the glass slipper? That's my favorite part in Cinderella (the movie.) But, overall, it was good.

Website: Berta Platas

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The magical Latina

Being Latina is not all beauty, fun, and intelligence. It can also be magical.

YA author Jamie Martinez Woods speaks to us about the magic of being Latina.

Q: Can you please tell us a little bit about the kinds of books you write?

A: I have eight published books (WOW!) Five of my books focus on earth spirituality, goddess traditions and living in harmony with the heartbeat of the land and all life. These books explore folk wisdom through herbs, cooking, ancient magic, symbols and lore. My other three book explore the Latino culture through the etymology of names, influential wordsmiths and teen fiction.

Q: Please describe the Latina heroine(s) in your book.

A: In my young adult novel, Rogelia's House of Magic, I like to tease and say that I split myself into four so that I could present four perspectives of the Latina lifestyle. There are three teen characters: Xochitl, a recent Mexican immigrant, is smart, determined and the hermit or loner. Colombian American Fern is the creative, impulsive, confident wild child. Marina is the Mexican American princess (8th generation Californio) who is quite sensitive/empathic though she lacks true self confidence or self esteem. Rogelia is their teacher: patient, wise, headstrong, tough and very caring.

Q: Who is your intended audience, if any?

A: My audience changes for each book. But the theme that runs through all my books, whether its the Hispanic Baby Name Book or The Teen Spell Book, is that everyone on this planet has a special gift, which could range from being a good listener to playing the guitar to being a social worker. Our job is to find it, polish it and let it shine in the world. We are not to judge it or allow others to dim our light, but instead revel in our talents and share them with all we contact.

Q: How do you feel your books influence Latinas?

A: My books, particularly the A-Z Latino Writers & Journalists book tells the biographical stories of 150 writers, editors and journalists who have changed the world because they spoke up and shared their tales. The stories represent the diversity of Latino Americans and the tenacity to not only survive but thrive despite dictatorships, suppression, prejudice and more. The Wicca Cookbook, inspired by Like Water for Chocolate, demonstrates that inspiration can come from anywhere and it doesn't have to be limited to any one form of expression and can even break misconceptions using an old tried and true method: cooking with love. The Faerie's Guide to Green Magick From the Garden, my latest book, reminds us to get back to the garden and talk to the plants like abuelita did.

Q: What does being Latina mean to you?

A: Being Latina means I live my life with my heart on my shoulder and I'm proud of the fact that I can be vulnerable enough to show what matters most to me and strong enough to back it up and see my dreams through to manifestation. Latina means family. I love my family, even when they drive me crazy, because I know they always have my back and vice verse. Mostly being Latina means I live, move and love ferociously with a thirst to experience as much as I can, until my last breath.

Q: We see from your website that your books incorporate magical elements. How does that affect today's Latina?

A: There is a strong folk wisdom in the Latina culture that we often ignore or disregard as base or not sophisticated. Sometimes we call it magical realism, sometimes its referred to as curandernismo. But regardless, Latinas have a deep connection to the earth and the supernatural. The physical and the metaphysical - through our use of symbolism, oral traditions and stories, and passion this magic comes alive and reminds us all of the power we have to create a world of our choosing. Or at the very least, find the blessing, humor or lesson (dicho) in almost any situation. We are resilient, but the magic helps us feel connected.

For more information about Jamie and her books, go to

Saturday, October 16, 2010


To kick things off, we are giving away "Mexican Enough" by Stephanie Elizondo Griest.

This giveaway will end on Oct. 31 2010

About the book:
Stephanie Griest, whose mother is a third-generation Mexican-American, made a conscious choice to be white like her dad one day in elementary school and, initially, finds her Hispanic identity when a guidance counselor advises that given her SAT scores, otherwise closed doors would swing open (she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas in 1997). The realization that nearly every accolade I have received in life... has been at least partially due to [this] genetic link inspires her journey to Mexico to learn Spanish and to gain a deeper understanding of [her] cultural heritage. Roughly from January to June 2005, she lives in Querétaro (north of Mexico City), coincidentally with a bunch of gay men. Aside from learning about the gay scene, the art scene and Mexico's unique wrestlers, the timing of her trip places her there when the gay activist Octavio Acuña is murdered. In July, she goes to Chiapas (Mexico's southernmost state), Zapatista territory, and devotes the second half of her book largely to documenting a burgeoning social movement that shook parts of the nation to the core. Patches are interesting, but Griest is not compelling or profound about the harassment and violence suffered by homosexuals, for instance, nor seriously affecting about her personal dilemma, being biracial.

The winner will be chosen on a point scale that you must earn by doing any of the following:

+1 - Be a follower of Livin la vida Latina
+1 - For every comment you post on this site
+2 - For every other site you mention Livin la vida Latina
(Note: must include links in the email)

All entries must be emailed to

Type the words, WIN MEXICAN ENOUGH, in the subject line.

A winner will be announced on Oct. 31 2010

Buena Suerte!