Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: THE TOWN I LIVE IN by Tita Rodriguez Parra

Reviewed by: Maya
Rating: 3 stars

Review: This book relays the tales of the author’s childhood memories. Parra takes the reader through the ups and downs of growing up with her family and friends in a 1950’s barrio neighborhood.

In "Monster," Tita finally realized her limits when her little brother becomes too strong for her to pin down. Tita learns what love isn't in "Love on a Two-Way Street." I laughed when Tita's brothers beat up her mom's boyfriend in "Living on the North Side."

Of course, the greatest impact came from "Intuition." Dripping with raw, honest audacity, "Intuition" presents the importance of listening to your conscience as Parra recalls the night she was kidnapped and raped.

This autobiography is poetic, lovely, and heartfelt. Tita's story is a tale of strength, courage, and the importance of adhering to yourself. And although there were some mild redundancies and weak flaws in the writing, the book still sends a powerful message of survival.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reviews: WAKING UP IN THE LAND OF GLITTER by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Summary: With glue guns, glitter, twigs, or yarn, the ordinary can become extraordinary . . . especially at La Pachanga. Owned by Estrella "Star" Esteban's family, the restaurant has a rep for two things: good food and great art. La Pachanga brings people together-even when it looks like they couldn't be further apart.

One ill-fated evening, Star jeopardizes her family's business, her relationship with her boyfriend, and her future career. To redeem herself, she agrees to participate in a national craft competition, teaming up with her best friend, Ofelia-a secretly troubled mother whose love for crafting borders on obsession-and local celebrity Chloe Chavez-a determined television personality with more than one skeleton in her professional closet. If these unlikely allies can set aside their differences, they'll find strength they never knew they had, and learn that friendship, like crafting, is truly an art form.

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars

Review: I liked the way it started—very gripping and honest. I totally understood Star’s desire to live her life for herself first and foremost before settling into anything. I especially liked how the author rendered both sides of the complicated love/hate relationship of Star and Theo in a zany, confusing “tug-of-war” way (they basically wanted to love and hate each other at the same time.) The love that Theo had for Star was endearing yet overwhelming (who wouldn’t freak out at the sight of wedding brochures?) Yet he was a good guy, perhaps too good for Star. My first impression of her was that she was a whiny, selfish brat that expected everything to be done for her without doing anything to earn it. Seriously, what did Theo see in her?

Almost every character (particularly Olfie) in the story succumbs to the belief that crafts are the answer to life’s problems and that they make the world happy and perfect. I felt that the whole idea was kind of surreal and unimaginable; it was like believing that a round of Candy Land will turn everything into lollipops and marshmallows. Don’t get me wrong. Crafts can be an art form that can reflect one’s spirits and identity, and, yes, they can even bring a little happiness. Clearly, that was the message the writer wanted to convey with much success—perhaps too much success.

The book was filled with flawed and diverse characters that can annoy you at times but you can definitely relate to. To put it better, they all intertwined together like colored thread with loose ends and tight knots.

Honestly, the story didn’t get good for me until about 2/3 of the way when the “truth” comes out on everyone. The drama was so flavorful and exciting that I couldn’t sit still for the most part.

Ultimately, the characters had to find their true “crafter” to see who they really wanted to be, and I think it all came together pretty well in the end.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: DAMAS, DRAMAS, AND ANA RUIZ by Belinda Acosta

Summary: All Ana Ruiz wanted was to have a traditional quinceañera for her daughter, Carmen. She wanted a nice way to mark this milestone year in her daughter's life. But Carmen was not interested in celebrating. Hurt and bitter over her father Esteban's departure, she blamed Ana for destroying their happy family, as did everyone else. A good man is hard to find, especially at your age Ana was told. Why not forgive his one indiscretion? Despite everything, Ana didn't want to tarnish Carmen's childlike devotion to her beloved father. But Ana knows that growing up sometimes means facing hard truths. In the end, Ana discovers that if she's going to teach Carmen anything about what it means to be a woman, it will take more than simply a fancy party to do it...

Reviewed by: Sandra L.
Rating: 5 stars

Review: The first thing that grabbed my attention was the writing style. It brings you back to the days of Mexican gatherings filled with música, cerveza, y carne asada with a telenovela blaring in the background. I especially liked how the author sprinkled in Spanish throughout the story like chile over brown rice—it definitely gave it that extra kick. It was almost like the book was written in both English and Spanish; I’d say it was about 85% English and 15% Spanish. In fact, it was almost as if my abuela had told this story with her broken English and (loud) Spanish expression.

The title definitely served the story well. This was the “damas and dramas” of Ana Ruiz with the pain she suffers from a broken marriage and the devastation she endures when her daughter looks at her with hate. And all Ana wants to do it fix it, and, for some reason, she feels a quinceañera will do it. Was she crazy? Was she trying to be mean by pushing the idea? No, she was just desperate—desperate to reconnect with her daughter, Carmen, and make it like it was before. Very heartfelt—but, again, crazy!

Carmen was a brat. It was unfair how she was so angry at her mom without getting all the facts straight. And why was everyone (her brother, her cousin, her tía, etc.) being so nice to her when she would just roll her eyes or snap at them with a smart-ass comment? That would frustrate anybody.

I liked how Ana got all giddy and nervous around Montalvo (especially when he took his shirt off) because it showed that she was still a woman, a young girl in “mom” costume. It was great that she could see a partner in him—not as a lover, per se, even though they were painted as a compatible couple throughout the story, but as a friend who’s gone through the same thing she is. It’s true what they say: misery likes company.

The plot was so well done that you can feel all the anger and pain of each character (they all have their personal demons and hidden skeletons.) It is a roller coaster ride of surprises with such a fervent impact that make the reader laugh, scream, and even throw up a little. A gripping read.

One minor thing I found a bit odd at first was how the author would deviate from one character’s setting, thoughts, and dialogue, and then transition to another character’s thoughts and feelings all within the same paragraph. Additionally, the story seemed to have been told in a fortune-teller kind of way; not only do we hear the story as it happened—as it was witnessed—but we also learn of what becomes of everyone years in the future. This definitely pushed the traditional fly-on-the-wall narration, but, somehow, it worked, and a masterpiece was born through unorthodox methods.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Giveaway has ended!

Thank you all for participating in our Latina DOUBLE BOOK GIVEAWAY.

A winner has been selected and notified.

Please keep checking back for upcoming reviews and more giveaways!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Latina Double Book Giveaway!

We are hosting a giveaway for not one book, but two books!

In Search of My Destiny by Irma Reyes Herrera
Heartwarming and inspiring, In Search of My Destiny tells a story about true family love. A wonderful tale that portrays the strength of the human spirit and proves that there is strength in unity, and highlights the special bond between parents and children. It is the story of a woman who lived her life in two different cultures. She lived her childhood and adolescence in a small Mayan village in Guatemala, Central America, where the customs were drastic and dramatic. When she became a single mother of three small children, she lived in California, where she faced a different culture, where she made a promise to herself that she would survive the struggle for those years ahead and achieve the triumph in the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of her and her children. Though she faced many challenges in life, she persevered in search of love, peace, happiness, and family union. Readers can witness her fascinating story unfold in In Search of My Destiny.

Tree of Sighs by Lucrecia Guerrero
After the sudden and tragic death of her parents, Altagracia faces an uncertain future with a bitter and secretive grandmother. When the two sink into poverty, the young girl ends up with a cruel woman who takes her to the United States, changes her name to Grace, and puts her to work as a full-time domestic servant. Tree of Sighs is the story of Grace's journey to uncover her past as she straddles two cultures in the search for her own identity. After escaping servitude and imprisonment, Grace endures life on the streets and a succession of jobs, and she eventually lands in a comfortable marriage. But a phone call from a person in her past sets her on a journey to the border, where she meets a man who holds the key to her past, learns the truth about her grandmother, and ultimately finds herself.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: IN SEARCH OF MY DESTINY by Irma Reyes Herrera

Heartwarming and inspiring, In Search of My Destiny tells a story about true family love. A wonderful tale that portrays the strength of the human spirit and proves that there is strength in unity, and highlights the special bond between parents and children. It is the story of a woman who lived her life in two different cultures. She lived her childhood and adolescence in a small Mayan village in Guatemala, Central America, where the customs were drastic and dramatic. When she became a single mother of three small children, she lived in California, where she faced a different culture, where she made a promise to herself that she would survive the struggle for those years ahead and achieve the triumph in the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of her and her children. Though she faced many challenges in life, she persevered in search of love, peace, happiness, and family union. Readers can witness her fascinating story unfold in In Search of My Destiny. Parents: Find very similar facts and renewed inspiration. Grandparents: Bring back memories of when you raised your children. Young People: You’ll have an understanding of the love that is felt for your children and what it takes to raise them. Children: Be inspired to embrace your family history and events.

Reviewed by: Sandra L.
Rating: 3 stars

Review: In the beginning, “he didn’t want to have daughters, and always said that women only bring problems.” (14) But then destiny brought him an unexpected joy….and her name was Luna.

In this memoir, we follow the life of Luna from her days of growing up in Central America to her transition to a new life in the United States. “I felt myself compelled to continue the long walk of life, and dreamed of how someday I would get rid of these invisible chains.” (57)

Her tale is raw, powerful, and full of honesty. In “Unpleasant Incidents,” we learn of the horrible trials in Luna’s young life and the hard lessons that come with them. The stories are outlined in pensive and thought-provoking vignettes.

This book is about a strong woman, weaving her destiny and surviving a complicated world, especially after leaving a bad marriage.  It was considered that “[women who left] were perceived as bad women, incapable of honoring the marriage ‘forever’ as it should be.” (103)

Towards the end, the author illustrated the life of a single, working mother—a concept she described as difficult and rewarding for “being a mother is the most sacred privilege of humanity and a role that never rests.” (159)

At times, I felt that the dialogue was a bit unrealistic.  “Come, my children” sounded more like something a preacher would say. It felt like I was reading an episode of The Brady Bunch, even though one can appreciate the effort behind Luna’s love for her children. As Herrera indicated, “people think that being a mother is a crazy job.” (159)



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: THE RIGHT TEMPTATION by Diane Escalera

Summary: Can a childhood crush mature into the real thing? Kayla Martinez has recently landed an RN position at a prestigious hospital in her hometown. The new job is everything she's hoped for, especially when one hot specimen shows up in the ER. She hasn't seen her childhood crush in years, and considering how much hotter he's gotten over time, she almost ends up needing resuscitation. The last thing Nico LaCosta needs is a broken arm. Now his pal's kid sister wants to soothe his pain, but he'd rather keep his distance so her big brother doesn't break his other arm. Kayla's no child anymore, though. She's one hot-blooded woman, determined to remind him of a mind-blowing kiss back when they were teenagers. Leave it to Kayla to drop by his house unannounced and play Nurse Seductive. A guy has to follow the buddy code, or face the consequences. Still, sometimes giving in to temptation is worth it...

CONTENT WARNING: Racy Language, Hot Sex, Lusty Latin Lovers A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance.

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars

Review: Since the age of 13, no guy has ever measured up to Kayla’s idea of caliente like Nico La Costa. It’s hard to believe that she has held a candle for him practically her whole life. Well, who could blame her, right? Still, stalking the guy might be a little too extreme.

There was no denying the instant physical attraction between the two right from the start; however, Nico was not seeking the complication of a relationship. He had to “[think] with the right head.” (13) The best part was when he tried to distract himself with an Xbox game until she came out in her skimpy outfit. Suddenly, it became a question of: what game?

Told in the witty banter of Kayla and Nico, this story is a teeter-totter of lust and desire with very little resistance. There must something to the old adage: “Latin men had a reputation for being good lovers.” (23)  I definitely agreed with Kayla about tattoos: “She didn’t mind a well-placed tattoo, but some men took it to the extreme. Not Nico.” (50)

The whole thing seemed to take place in one sultry, provocative weekend as snippets of their shared history filtered through.  One thing was clear: Kayla was determined to hook him—hook him in the saddle, hook him for life. My goodness!

Of course, after their climactic evening, who ends up showing up? His mamá! Oh, snap!

The writing was decent, but the story did not go beyond the wild passion, which consumed the entire length of the novel. A quick read for romance lovers.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cover Reveal: TO CATCH A PRINCESS by Caridad Pineiro

Gambling at Love:  To win her heart he has to risk his secrets. . .

Romantic Times: 4 Stars – “From the first page, the pacing is strong, the action plentiful and the characters interesting enough to hook you in.”
Untold wealth, a loving family, a solid career in America: the only thing Princess Tatiana lacks is the one thing she really doesn't want--a husband. Unfortunately, her parents have just arranged her marriage to a royal from the old country. Are they kidding? It's the twenty-first century!
Police Detective Peter Roman is a royal living incognito...and escaping a secret that has haunted his family for years. He's been quietly in love with his best friend Price Alexander's sister for as long as he can remember. Little does she know that he is secretly the Grand Duke to whom she is unwillingly betrothed.
When a series of high-end jewelry heists threatens Tatiana's exclusive charity exhibition in glamorous Monaco, the two must trap the clever jewel thief before he strikes again. In a fight for their lives, Peter's secret identity is revealed. With danger and passion increasing to the break point, she must decide: catch a thief...or trust the heart of her true love.




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: FAITH IN YOU by Charity Pineiro

Summary: Paul Stone accepts Connie Gonzalez’s invitation to join her for a traditional and fun-filled Cuban Christmas Eve dinner. Paul is instantly captivated by her intriguing kid sister. Carmen Gonzalez is leery of the self-assured FBI agent whose upscale upbringing provided him with all he ever needed. . .except love. After a fast-paced courtship, Paul and Carmen are ready to walk down the aisle, blissfully unaware that fate – and their own secret fears – will test their fragile commitment long before they make it to the altar . . . .

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars

Review: The charming Gonzalez sisters—Carmen and Connie—from the last story, Now and Always, are back! But now that Connie and Victor were together, the focus was on her little sister, Carmen, and her FBI partner, Paul Stone.

Feeling sad over the lonely holidays, Paul reluctantly accepts Connie’s persistent invitation for dinner at her parents’ house. Of course, a white boy was going to feel out of place in a house full of Cubans. And, of course, as soon as he laid eyes on Carmen, there was an instant attraction, but Carmen wasn’t too keen on him, especially since this was the guy who broke her sister’s arm in the last book. And ever since the first meeting, Paul’s cockiness takes over. White boys.

Carmen sure is a spicy jalapeño—always cutting the poor guy off with her strident aggravation. However, the two do have one thing in common: they long for what Connie and her husband have. Still, they were completely different. Could they actually work? Could they both put the fun aside and just be serious—a behavior they both have yet to master?

The romance developed quickly—too quickly. Will their love be able to surpass their insecurities, the cultural barriers, and the judgments of their families? “Lord help the fools that think it’s about love and all that other crap.” (130) Although brash, Paul’s brother may have had a point about the union. Can faith actually trump anything?

I liked that this one had more Spanish, more controversy, and, best of all, a battle of trust. Still, the story had the same conventional plot, except there was no FBI case to deviate from the amorous pursuit. I guess they didn’t want a rehash of the exact same book, although it was pretty similar in a lot of ways.

All in all, this was all romance with no pause. All they cared about was to be together forever—an emblematic concept in every romance novel.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: NOW AND ALWAYS by Charity Pineiro

Summary: Connie Gonzalez is a driven, ambitious woman who is one of the FBI’s best agents and determined to prove herself in a man’s world. Assigned to the Miami Bureau, Connie soon finds herself going undercover in Miami's glamorous South Beach area. An injury throws her together with the very rich and tempting Dr. Victor Cienfuegos. Victor is everything Connie should avoid, but despite the risks of her work and allowing any distractions, Connie cannot deny the attraction between herself and the sexy physician. Will danger keep them apart or is their love strong enough to survive for now and always?

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars

Review: Two lovely girls. One hot doctor.

Dr. Victor Cienfuego has been looking for a new receptionist ever since his previous, incomparable one took maternity leave. So far, no one has been able to keep his office running in an orderly and productive fashion. But could young and inexperienced Carmen Gonzalez be exactly what he’s looking for—as a receptionist and as a lover? There was no denying the spark.

Carmen’s sister, Connie Gonzalez, is a smart, inquisitive FBI in-training agent. She kind of reminded me of Mary Gross from the movie, Feds—she was the brainy, nerdy chick who knew all of the police protocol but knew nothing about combat until she learned that a nice, swift quick to the groin would always bring the jerks down. And it seems that she might be just what the good doctor ordered.

Both raised as good, Catholic school girls, Carmen and Connie have very different views on love and relationships. I could relate to Connie the most especially since “she had always been so busy with her ambitions, that she had paid little heed to the woman buried inside of her.” (44) Always the shy spinster, she never paid the slightest bit of attention to men…until Victor stepped up the plate.

Could a cop and a doctor make it work? Possibly, especially since they both tend to live the same lifestyle—forever chained to a cell phone for any sudden call of duty that could whisk them away in a second’s notice.  Could they be any more perfect for each other?

Still, I could understand Connie’s uneasiness concerning his wealth and good looks. I couldn’t, however, understand why she needed to turn into this sex-starved vixen around him. Why can’t good girls stay good?

At first, I thought that this would involve some love triangle between the doctor and the two sisters, especially since they both invoked the same reaction from him. But it’s not the case at all. Perhaps it would’ve made things a little more interesting by adding this potential conflict in the story. But it’s your typically sweet, contemporary romance…except with a uniquely crafted twist of hunting down a serial killer; although the focus might’ve placed a little too heavily on the steamy, erotic romance than anything else.

A short-paced novel with likable characters but with a conventional plot.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: TREE OF SIGHS by Lucrecia Guerrero

Summary: After the sudden and tragic death of her parents, Altagracia faces an uncertain future with a bitter and secretive grandmother. When the two sink into poverty, the young girl ends up with a cruel woman who takes her to the United States, changes her name to Grace, and puts her to work as a full-time domestic servant. Tree of Sighs is the story of Grace's journey to uncover her past as she straddles two cultures in the search for her own identity. After escaping servitude and imprisonment, Grace endures life on the streets and a succession of jobs, and she eventually lands in a comfortable marriage. But a phone call from a person in her past sets her on a journey to the border, where she meets a man who holds the key to her past, learns the truth about her grandmother, and ultimately finds herself.

Reviewed by: Sandra L.
Rating: 3 stars

Review: “There was something soothing about words, how they could transverse into a solution to a problem.” (4) And Guerrero’s words are as soothing as they come—both lovely and poetic.

The writer gives us a story of a woman harboring a secret. Before she was Grace, she was Altagracia, born and raised in Mexico, who was suddenly uprooted to the Americas. She thought she would never have to think about the past again, but then a phone call takes her on a journey back to old memories. It is the story of a woman’s reminiscence of her buried past and physical return back home (Mexico.)

After becoming Grace, the reader learns what she had to go through to survive. She ran away from her host mom to escape the imprisoned life of a servant to hang out with a group of wretched kids from the streets, where she soon learns that “[Guys are] like cockroaches…Turn off the lights and in no time, the little bastards are crawling all over you.” (101) This then leads to her routine of binge-drinking and promiscuity in her early 20’s, sinking her further into the desolated misery of her life. 

Ultimately, this book was about a search for identity, a search for belonging, a search for a home and safety. She once said that “home is where the heart is. Where was her heart?” (120)

The best part was toward the end when she finally had to come clean with her husband of who she used to be. Could you really blame him for being upset? Even though you detest the lies of Grace, you can’t help but feel a fraction of sympathy and understanding for Altagracia. After all, it wasn’t her fault.

And as soon as Grace confronts her grandmother, more history unfolds and a buried past resurfaces. The overwhelming amount of details often made the finale insignificant and humdrum. 

Overall, it was a well-written story, but it was a tad long-winded at times. It was filled with a ton of  metaphors and descriptions of trees. What was the meaning of the title? Tree of Sighs?  Mmmm, that was something that just left me pondering along with the other unanswered questions.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: CLINGING TO DECEIT by Elena Martina

Summary: A young girl has been raised her entire life with the idea of an arranged marriage that she freely accepts. However, the future groom needs to be enticed into this engagement with a hefty dowry at a time when his young, romantic heart is passionately attached to another.
The powerful appeal of funds turns tragic for everybody involved, and his family realizes that happiness is not something money can buy. They soon struggle with the murder of a family member that further crushes the young man's dreams for a happy ending. Not able to emotionally recover from it, a final blow imprisons him for life.

Reviewed by: Sandra L.
Rating: 3 stars

Review: What if you were forced to marry someone you didn’t know? Born in Peru, Elena Martina weaves an intriguing tale of a culture bound by archaic practices and traditions.  

“Hassan felt his life and freedom had ended and fought tears.” (15) This is how it all starts out for our main character, Hassan. He doesn’t want to marry a stranger; instead, he wants to get to know this other girl that he noticed in his daily whereabouts.

What shocked me most was that he was going to marry a 14-year old girl, who still called her mother “mommy.”

Although I felt sorry for Hassan for being forced into this wedlock, my feelings toward him changed as I read on, especially right after he stated, “I would never hit a woman, unless she deserved it.” (23) That just blew Hassan out of the water for “great guy;” then he graduated to “cocky and selfish bastard” with his involvement with Seline (his manipulative, mystery girl) and his neglect for his younger siblings.  He definitely didn’t deserve a nice, sweet girl like Aqquela, his arranged bride.

It was frightening to learn how women get treated in third world countries. Ali, Hassan’s father, was mean and scary; I didn’t like him at all.

The book had a colorful mix of greed, drama, deceit, and betrayal. Some scenes made me sad while others just had me confused. How could Aqquela’s family be so blind to the troubles concerning Ali, Hassan, and the rest of the clan?

Executed in a passive style, the writing was brief and contained a fair level of dialogue; it almost read like a summary. There was also a little too much back-and-forth between the characters’ points-of-view. We would constantly switch from one character to another within the same paragraph. Still, a magnitude of potential existed between the pages of this unique tale.

What I liked best about this story was that even though you really couldn’t help despising many of these characters, you still couldn’t wait to find out how it would all end for them.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Habanera is a wonderfully lively and entertaining journey, alternately humorous and wistful. By the end, you will feel as if you have traveled to one of the most exotic islands on earth, during its most surrealistic historical moment. Dovalpage is a master of quirky, loveable characters, and emotionally resonant narrative. Habanera bursts with the energetic curiosity and hopefulness of youth.
Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars
Review: This story is about a young girl coming of age in a historical communist country. It allows us to re-live the struggles and hardships in a Cuba so unlike the one seen with Ricky Ricardo. Centered on one family struggling to break free of Castro’s domineering ways, we experience the history and politics through the astute vision of a little girl named Longina, who is unaware of what’s going on and is just hearing words like “revolution” and “visa” for the very first time. Filled with wholesome and vivid details so precise you can taste it, actually feel it scraping the roof of your tongue. This book will take you back in time and make you experience each day like a blind man trekking through mud.  
Even though this book was a tad too political for my taste, I was still impressed by the author’s impeccable writing skills. A highly recommended book for the history buff.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Interview with Jeff Rivera

Today, we have a special author with us: Jeff Rivera, author of Forever My Lady, which we recently reviewed.

Welcome, Jeff!

1. What inspired you to write a love story?

I was inspired by a real friend's story. I was working at K-Mart at the time. It was my first job after having been homeless and he was starting over too. He was in a work release program where he had been a gang member and was trying to start his life over. We became friends very quickly and he used to come in every day and tell me about this girl that he loved and was trying to change his life around for.  I got the idea of doing a boot camp because I belonged to this screenwriters association in Nevada and this producer visited us and said there was a prison boot camp out there in the middle of the desert, why hadn't someone written a story about it? Those two things and infusing a lot of events had happened in my own life began me on my journey to writing this story.
2. How did you come up with the title?
Well, my friend that I met at K-Mart always talked about his "lady" all the time, and I just thought Forever My Lady would be a great title.
3. Were any of the characters, like Dio, Jennifer, Simon, or Groissant, based on anyone?
Yes, all the characters were based on people I know but usually a combination of people I know. And many of them were based on aspects of me and my own experiences.
4. The main character, Dio, seemed adamant in the fact that he and Jennifer were destined to be together forever. Do you think this is true of some couples? What do you think love is and what is it that makes couples stay together?
I really want to believe that some people are destined to be together. It's very romantic. Now, that I get older, I do think that you can have more than one soul mate in your life time but you'll never forget your first love. That's what Jennifer and Dio are to each other and will always be. No body can take that away from them, ever. There are two schools of thought: Stay together no matter what vs. Life is short, why go through pain and suffering. It's really hard to decide which path you want to go on when you become a couple.
5. Do you think Dio and Jennifer could've worked it out?
That's a really good question. I hope so. I will this, that it is not the end of the two of them. They still have issues to work out.
6. That prison camp was interesting. Did you do any research on that?
Yes, I did. I went to the actual boot camp out in the middle of the desert in Nevada. It was so amazing! I became good friends with the drill instructor, who became one of the inspirations for the Jackson character; he's been amazing.

7. What was your writing process like for this story?

Well, first, it was a screenplay and after Hollywood rejected it, I decided to write it as a novel. I wrote the novel in less than 3 months and published really just the first draft. That's the same draft that ended up getting published by Warner Books.



8. What was the main message that you wanted readers to get from this story?
I think at that time, I wanted people to know that sometimes you have to love someone enough to let them go. And if they're meant to be with you, it will work out eventually, no matter how much it may hurt at the time.


9. Do you feel that your book is an inspiration for Latinas? How so?
I certainly hope so. I think a lot of Latinas can relate to falling in love with someone and then growing past them. It's really hard when you fall in love with someone and then find that you're outgrowing them. 


10. Are you currently working on any other books?
I am working on so many books, it's making my head spin! One of them is the prequel and sequel of Forever My Lady. But it's taken years to get it ready.


11. And, finally, where can we learn more about you and your works?

You can visit http://www.JeffRivera.com or of course, check Amazon. I have tons of books that I'm writing and co-writing there.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Review: FOREVER MY LADY by Jeff Rivera

Dio Rodriguez grew up on the streets and knew all too well the hard, cool feeling of the barrel of a gun tucked down the back of his jeans. But his hard exterior softened when he met Jennifer. Jennifer understands Dio like no one else and makes him want to be a better man. Suddenly a drive-by shooting lands Dio in a prison boot camp and sends Jennifer to the hospital. When Dio learns that Jennifer is pregnant, he realizes that he must find a way to turn his life around and return to his lady. But can trainee Rodriguez get his act together among the hardcases in prison? And will Jennifer be waiting for him if and when he does?

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 4 stars

Review: What's a jaina? Not being too familiar with the Chicano slang, that was my first question right from the start of this book. And what was a ruca? Admittedly, I found myself scratching my head at these words, but, at the same time, I couldn't help but be drawn to the raw boldness of the dialogue, a dialogue drooling with a refreshing wit and fierce overtone.

Forever My Lady is the story of Dio, a young Latino from the barrio who has always been judged by his vulgar and robust appearance, but that all changed as soon as he met Jennifer―his lady.  No one could really understand the love he had with her, especially not her parents, who were "like cold tamales that used to be piping hot." (25) It seemed that they would be together forever...until that frightful night that separated them, sending him to prison camp and her to the hospital. Suddenly, she realized that Dio was NOT the guy for her, that she could do better. And who wouldn't think that they could do better than a trouble-making thug? Still, Dio believed that she was the one and would do whatever it took to get her back.

His letter begging her to give him another chance was the same song performed by any gangster after a BIG screw up. Any promise to "straighten up" would be useless and would leave him right in the same spot.  I honestly hoped that Jennifer wouldn't fall for it. I thought that they should both forget about each other and get on with their lives. How naive is it think that someone could wait for you for 50 years? But Dio was a spicy pepper that wouldn't give, even with all that crap he put up with in the prison camp. Perhaps it was his undying love that helped him get through the camp, which was where he meets some funny odd-ball characters, all with their own story of how they got to be where they are. Even the sweet, little Jennifer has her story. This book is just a closet full of secrets.

Rivera's powerful words fill the reader with a fierce empathy. You can't help but feel a little pride as Dio begins to succeed little by little. As time goes by, Dio begins to gain compassion and learns to see that behind a rough exterior lies a beating heart of humanity.

A story of strength, resistance, and will power. A perfect liking to Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men with its colorful array of characters set against a backdrop of a gritty and desolated world, working like burros for a better life.

Please stay tuned for an interview with Jeff Rivera coming up next!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: CLAY HILLS AND MUD PIES by Annie Mary Perez

Today we review Clay Hills and Mud Pies by Annie Mary Perez.

Skeletons abound in this revealing but poignant biography recounting a Mexican American family’s one hundred year history in the United States. Three Memoirs in one, this San Diego Book Awards Finalist is rich with Mexican folklore and Americana. In Book One, which opens with a ghost story, the author describes her father’s life growing up motherless in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It includes early memories of sleeping in abandoned houses, working for his aunt, who was a bootlegger, riding the rails as a youth, serving in World War II, and finally, marrying her mother in February of 1946. In Book Two she describes her mother’s life growing up on a dairy farm in Mesilla, New Mexico during the Depression. It includes early memories of picking cotton as a child and the first of a series of prophetic dreams. It also includes stories of her grandmother’s encounter with the Twelve Apostles and her grandfather’s finding buried treasure. In Book Three, she describes her own life growing up in a Los Angeles barrio, early memories of domestic violence, her parents’ divorce, caring for her parents in their declining years, and ultimately, dealing with the loss. The book concludes with her father’s philosophies on youth and life

Reviewed by: Sandra L.
Rating: 4 stars

Review: This is a soulful collection of short stories of young girl's family, spanning over 3 generations. The author takes the reader on a captivating tour through U.S. history as experienced from the Chicano POV. Each segment tells the story of three main characters: Santiago, Mary, and Annie.                                                         

In "The Maroon Convertible," we learn why Annie's father, Santiago, had his license revoked and why he never drove again. A religion folklore may suddenly bring vengeance in "Grandma and the 12 Apostles." And I had such empathy for Annie's mom, Mary, with having to put up with all the molestation and harassment in "All her working days." Of course, things only got worse when she married Santiago, who was a drunk, an abuser, and a womanizer, making her regret a decision in "Married Life."

I thoroughly enjoyed the joyful tales of barrio life, which were reminiscent of my own childhood. A quick and endearing read.

My only criticism was that some of these stories were too short, which didn't allow the reader to fully submerge in the tales. For me, a new book is like standing at the peak of high diving board―I just want to dive right in!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: JUST LIKE THAT by Margo Candela

We kick off our summer reading with our review of Margo Candela's Just like that.

Plot: Leslie Quinn might have been dumped by her longtime boyfriend, but she still has her determination to make it as a top stylist at an exclusive Manhattan department store.

Reviewed by: Sandra L.
Rating: 4 stars

Review: Leslie Quinn is a hard-working woman with a nagging boss and a man-child boyfriend still living with his parents. The first thing that came to mind was: why was she wasting her time with this loser? What a slob! It was painstakingly obvious that this guy was in it for the twin package—a mother and a sex partner all rolled into one.

To me, Leslie seemed like a smart and level-headed woman, so I was perplexed at why she would throw herself back into the miserable dating scene after getting rid of the boyfriend. Was it just to get back at him? Probably. Why else was the girl stalking the boy on Facebook? Couldn't she find happiness on her own?

Obviously, the best part was when that 6’2” luscious Mr. Tate steps in (my only beef was that it took forever to get to him.) In a moment’s notice, Mr. Tate was able to revive the woman in Leslie, resurrect desires she presumed never existed, freeing the inhibitions locked inside her. For the first time, someone was acknowledging her needs for once; and she allowed herself to enjoy it...for once.

I’d hate to say that it took a man for Leslie to find the courage and strength to take control of her own destiny, but perhaps she needed the right man to press the locator button.

Short, simple, an easy read.

As in previous works, Candela peppers in that witty, snarky humor, adding that sweet, tart flavor to the story. Way to go, Margo!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer of Reading

Hello, LLVL Fans!

In case some of you may be wondering, no, we have not fallen off the face of the earth. Since a lot of our team members here are students, we have been busy studying for finals and coming off spring vacations.


We are collaborating and getting ready for our summer reading. Please look forward to more book reviews and more interviews with some of your favorite Latina authors.

If you have a recommendation on a book, please share with us by logging on to http://livinlavidalatina.blogspot.com and posting your comments.

We look forward to a great summer of reading!

Muchas Gracias!


Livin' la vida Latina Team

Monday, January 14, 2013

What are you reading?

Every now and then we like to get an idea of what our followers are reading. So here's your chance to recommend some titles to us.

What are you reading?