Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Colorful Chick Lit" Package Giveaway

In honor of the "2011 Colorful Chick Lit Challenge" hosted by Reads4Pleasure, we are giving away a "Colorful Chick Lit" Package.

3 books--all written by women of color!

Bollywood Confidential by Sonia Singh

Hook, Line, and Single by Marcia King-Gamble

Hot Tamara by Mary Castillo

To enter:

-Post a comment in this post with your email address before March 5 2011

-Contest is open to U.S. residents only (Not shipping internationally)

-Contest ends on March 5, 2011; A winner will be announced on this site

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Esperanza, A Latina Story

Now, we would like to review a book written by one of our members--Esperanza: A Latina Story by Sandra C. Lopez

Fourteen-year old Esperanza Ignacio could only think of a few words to sum up her life: crap, crap, crap! She was born into a poor Latino family living in a small crummy apartment in the barrio side of town, where the graffiti chiseled more the souls and character of the residents than it impacted the exterior looks of the buildings. Her father was a drunken, gambler, and wife-beater who, one cold night, got arrested after a violent intrusion. Her entire circle of relatives consisted of nothing but formers-former drug-addicts, former gangsters and gang-bangers, former alcoholics, former everything. Yep, her life was nothing but a huge load of crap. And she hadn't even started high school yet. After surviving a scorching summer heat, Esperanza enters the unfamiliar world of high-school with a tight knot in her stomach. On the very first day, she is sucked into a blunder of catastrophic events beginning with accidentally running into the world's BIGGEST bully. Now, she has made herself the prime target for a main course. And, to top it all off, she has to see this girl everyday in P.E! P.E.-the one class Esperanza truly despises the most. Could life be any worse for her? Well, her family could take in a relative hopped up on drugs, a probable shooting can take place right in front of her, and Esperanza could also sit and listen to the crazed ranting of her loud psychotic mother. Oh, wait, all that does happen. To make things even easier, her best friend, Carla, won't stop trying to marry her off to her twin brother, Carlos. And she has these two puny siblings constantly vying for her attention. God, it's a wonder she doesn't strap herself in a straight jacket and pretend to be Elvis. Nonetheless, Esperanza attempts to get through it all. She is a smart and ambitious young kid struggling to survive her life while fighting to make her mark on the world. Her story is filled with pain, strength, and too much loud bickering. It carries a voice enriched with barrio slang and sarcastic humor. Esperanza illustrates what persistent Latino youth can achieve when they get back up after a fall and keep on walking straight into college.

Reviewed by: Bela M.
Review: What can I say? I loved Esperanza—her personality, her voice, her sense of humor, but most of all, her inner strength to become somebody. Like many Latino youths, Esperanza comes from a poverty-stricken home marked by domestic abuse, alcoholism, gangland connections among her relatives, and a saddening absence of hope for the future. When Esperanza enters high school, she faces bullies, the peer pressure to meet low expectations, and the tremendous possibility that she, too, will become just another Latina dropout. Esperanza has no role models and no home support, but she finds strength she did not realize she had and fights against obstacles to fulfill her dreams. You can’t help but root for Esperanza as she struggles to find her place in this world.

Not only does this book have an inspirational message for our Latina sisters, but it is also laugh-out-loud funny! I especially loved the overbearing mother. It totally reminded me of my own.

Filled with unforgettable characters and a voice enriched with a raw, teenage voice. We definitely need more books like this out there!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Interview with Anjanette Delgado

Anjanette Delgado is the author of The Heartbreak Pill, which won 1st place in the Best Romance category at the Latino International Book Awards.


Can you please tell us a little bit about the kinds of books you write and how your culture affects your craft?

My books are written for modern women and have been called “smart chick lit.”

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

They’re always women who set to learn something in order to be happy. This stems from my absolute belief in self-transformation. My heroines believe they can change their life for the price of a used paperback.

Who is your intended audience, if any?

I truly believe that everyone can enjoy my books, and I do have the fan mail to prove it. (You wouldn’t believe the diversity in them.) But, I do feel that they land hardest among women like me: multicultural, modern, and trying to be happy and to make sense of life.

How do you feel your books influence Latinas?

Hopefully, they’ll influence them to learn whatever they need to learn to remove whatever stands in the way of their happiness.

What does being Latina mean to you?

Well, for one thing it means a very different thing from being Hispanic. You see, I can be Hispanic living in Puerto Rico, Colombia, or anyplace else for that matter. It just means I come from a Spanish-speaking country. But being Latina means sharing the immigrant experience as it is lived in the USA. Two completely different things. One is secure in its identity because that identity is held by the context of place; the other has to define and protect that identity, even as it goes through the acculturation process of having chosen to live in this country.

What do you think the future holds for today’s Latina?

Oh, the world is the limit. We have so much to give, to contribute. I believe we can be a force for great good. We can be uniters. We can create multicultural bonds. When I’m hanging out with my Jewish friends, and with my African American friends, or my white friends... I see no difference. I see mothers, women. We are sassy, funny, dramatic, scary when we’re angry. We’re all just women.

What are some of your favorite Latina authors and why?

I like Josefina Lopez because because she’s real. She says whatever needs to be said. I also like
Liz Balmaseda, Fabiola Santiago, Carolina Garcia Aguilera, Julia Amante, and Stephanie Greist.

Do you have a website or a blog?


Thank you!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book Review: Hungry Woman in Paris

Hungry Woman in Paris by Josefina Lopez

A journalist and activist, Canela believes passion is essential to life; but lately passion seems to be in short supply. It has disappeared from her relationship with her fiancé, who is more interested in controlling her than encouraging her. It's absent from her work, where censorship and politics keep important stories from being published. And while her family is full of outspoken individuals, the only one Canela can truly call passionate is her cousin and best friend Luna, who just took her own life.

Canela can't recover from Luna's death. She is haunted by her ghost and feels acute pain for the dreams that went unrealized. Canela breaks off her engagement and uses her now un-necessary honeymoon ticket, to escape to Paris. Impulsively, she sublets a small apartment and enrolls at Le Coq Rouge, Paris's most prestigious culinary institute.

Cooking school is a sensual and spiritual reawakening that brings back Canela's hunger for life. With a series of new friends and lovers, she learns to once again savor the world around her. Finally able to cope with Luna's death, Canela returns home to her family, and to the kind of life she thought she had lost forever.

Reviewed by: Bela M.

Let me start off by stating what little I liked about this book. First of all, the main character's name was Canela. What a fun name! Canela, which means "cinnamon" (Brown and sweet). The story started out with Canela at her favorite cousin's funeral. I liked how the whole family function turned into an all-out brawl right in the middle of it. Lopez brought out an authentic Mexican flavor to her charcters in this scene. It was funny and witty.

The story started taking a slow turn when Canela decides to go to Paris because she called off her engagement. At first, her reason for leaving was to use the tickets she bought for her honeymoon; but, then, her decision to stay was a little anti-American with the following quote: "I hate my life. I hate the war. I hate what is happening to the U.S., and I just can't go back." (pg. 25) Okay, take a chill pill, girl! Sometimes this story got way too political for my taste.

And sometimes Canela was just a coward to me. I mean, fleeing the country because you don't want to face your mother with the truth? C'mon! Although we all can understand the desire to run away from work, family, life--the world! But, sooner or later, you're going to have to come back and face what you ran away from.

The imagery of Paris was described beautifully and eloquently. However, this still did not compensate for the writer being too graphic with the sex scenes. I was so grossed out by most of them. I can't even tell you a little bit about it. Yuck! Also, she outlined the cooking so much that I often skipped these parts. I also thought that there were too many characters that you don't really care about. In all honesty, I didn't really care about Canela either.

All in all, this book was all about food and sex--no story whatsoever. It was a grave dissapointment. Lopez should really stick to screenplays.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review: Graffiti Girl

Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra

Raised by her single mom (who's always dating the wrong kind of man) in a struggling California neighborhood, Angel Rodriguez is a headstrong, independent young woman who channels her hopes and dreams for the future into her painting. But when her entry for a community mural doesn't rate, she's heartbroken. Even with winning artist Nathan Ramos — a senior track star and Angel's secret crush — taking a sudden interest in Angel and her art, she's angry and hurt. She's determined to find her own place in the art world, her own way.

That's when Miguel Badalin — from the notorious graffiti crew Reyes Del Norte — opens her eyes to an underground world of graf tags and turf wars. She's blown away by this bad boy's fantastic work and finds herself drawn to his dangerous charm. Soon she's running with Miguel's crew, pushing her skills to the limit and beginning to emerge as the artist she always dreamed she could be. But Nathan and Miguel are bitter enemies with a shared past, and choosing between them and their wildly different approaches to life and art means that Angel must decide what matters most before the artist inside of her can truly break free.

Reviewed by: Sandra Lopez, author of Esperanza and Beyond the Gardens

Review: What can I say? I loved Angel! She absolutely rocked with her non-glamour, doesn't-give-a-crap attitude. But, like any other teen, she's shy and insecure, especially about her skills as an artist. She never liked to show off her work because she felt it would never compare to the other students, who were far more talented than she could ever come close to. I'm an artist myself, so I know how that feels.

Angel is a character that many Latino youths can relate to. The other characters in this story are so genuine agaisnt the back drop of a barrio neighborhood. I was intrigued by the concept of "graffiti" art as far as the application, the process, and how expressive it can be.

And, like taffy, you will be pulled in opposite directions as Nathan and Miguel battle over Angel's affections. The question was: who was right for her?

Towards the end, Angel must learn there are sacrifices in achieving your dreams and the choices she makes could impact her life forever. A fun YA read full of surprises.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A "Caliente" Valentine

It is the first day of February, and, in 13 more days, it will be....you guessed it, Valentine's Day

In honor of this upcoming celebration of love, we have posted the following cover.

A hot Latin lover sounds mucho caliente to us.

We hope every girl out there enjoys it.