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 and posting your comments.

We look forward to a great summer of reading!

Muchas Gracias!


Livin' la vida Latina Team