Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: WHITE GIRL IN LA CASA by Christa Jeanne

After being dumped by the last bad boy she’s ever going to date, Calliope meets her Hispanic prince charming. Peter Delgadillo is the perfect gentleman, sure, but he’s also extremely easy to look at with a flirtatious grin, naturally tanned skin that just radiates over gorgeous muscle, and the potential to be Calliope’s passionate Latin lover who whispers sweet Spanish nothings into her ear. Hmmm. If only she could convince him that she is his Caucasian love goddess. However, Peter wants to remain in the ‘just amigos’ category. Well, that is until a pipe bursts and they are forced to stay with Peter’s mother. He confesses that in order to ease his mother’s ailing heart, they need to act like a couple in love. Pretend to adore one another? Play the part of the adorable girlfriend while getting to touch, fondle, cuddle and cozy up to the man that she’s been madly in love with for years? No problemo!

However, nothing is getting past Peter’s mother, Margarita, who is not fond of the new white girl who doesn’t speak the language, doesn’t know the culture and doesn’t eat meat! With quite the language barrier and culture shock, Calliope struggles to keep her end of the bogus relationship bargain especially when she begins to realize that their friendship may break her heart. Oh, and then there’s Peter’s brother, Eddie, who threatens to blow the secret wide open because he knows it’s all an act. With a love triangle right out of a Spanish novella, Calliope tries to figure out what’s real and what isn’t so her heart won’t take another blow.

One white girl, one fake boyfriend who should be The One, one ice cold Margarita who’s determined to drive her out and the one guy who knows it’s all a sham. It’ll be a wonder if this white girl will survive in la casa…

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 4 stars

Review: Calliope doesn’t practice good sense when it comes to men. Then, out of the blue, she meets Peter Delgadillo, “the Latino God of all that is man candy goodness.” (12)

The two start off as friends, but Calli has other things in mind—dirty, sinful things. Pathetic love puppy! “For as many times as Peter had introduced me as his friend, it finally sunk in that we were not going to be walking down the aisle at any time and that his delicious body and kind heart would never be mine.” (21) Gee, ya think?

Then Calli gets her wish to be Peter’s girlfriend…Well, she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for his mother, who was quite a pickle. Can a white girl see eye-to-eye with an old Mexican suegra?

“When it was just him and I, he was the soft and sweet Peter I fell in love with years ago, but when it came to his mother, I suddenly turned to chop liver.” (107) Suddenly, Calli starts to see a whole other side to Peter, one that always sides with his saint of a mother. It’s kind of like they’re married already. If a woman hated me that much, hell no would I stay at her house.

“Once that woman knows something, the whole planet does too.” (205) Yep, heard that! That’s exactly my abuela. Margarita was like any old Mexican mother. She was mean and critical in that hilarious fashion.

The story was similar to the movie While You Were Sleeping—a girl thinking she could fool everyone into believing she was engaged to the boy, but she ain’t fooling the brother, who, ironically, may be the one for her. I liked Eddie because he called Calli on her B.S.

The best part was when Calliope spells it out for Eddie. She wants to be adored daily, she expects flowers on her birthday, she won’t cook animals, she won’t take out the trash, she’s opinionated big-mouth, and she gets cranky when she’s on her period. “Take it or leave it.” (221) Gotta love her honesty!

Full of that in-your-face sarcastic humor, this book practically speaks to the reader in diary form, which exuded Calliope’s personality force, but, at times, she tended to babble on and often got off tangent. Overall, the writing was okay (wasn’t too impressed), but the author does make up for it with the variety of oddball characters.

Calli’s life in la casa was like watching an I Love Lucy episode with her hare-brain schemes and wacky antics. It is a wild ride of culture shock. A fun and enjoyable read!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Q&A with Author Christa Jeanne

Christa Jeanne lives and writes in the Los Angeles area, which means at any given moment she is likely to be stuck in traffic somewhere.  When she isn’t writing her next romantic comedy, she is either busy getting clobbered at Candyland by her daughter, educating anyone who will listen about how her son with autism is going to change the world one day, or lovingly doting on her handsome, charming, intelligent and perfect husband (who totally fed her that line).  Christa is the ringleader of her circus at home and as soon as the kids go to bed, she can be found at her computer rocking out to a playlist that matches the mood of the current book she’s hammering out.  She loves writing about the funnier side of love since falling in love can be pretty hilarious sometimes.
Her latest book is the romantic comedy, WHITE GIRL IN LA CASA. Visit to learn more.
Welcome, Christa!

1.       How did you come up with the story of WHITE GIRL IN LA CASA?
White Girl in La Casa is based on some very funny and eye opening experiences I've gone through since I met my husband.  I am indeed a white girl and I'm married to a hispanic hunk ;)  The Hispanic, and specifically Mexican, culture is so family-oriented and when I met all of my husband's family, I have to admit, it took me a while to get used to it and to remember everyone's name.  I'm an only child with a very small immediate family so being welcomed into a huge familia was wonderful, but it did lend itself to some moments that were lost in translation.  I've always had the writing bug and admittedly, there were some times when dating my husband that I thought to myself, this is better than fiction, I have to write about this!

2.       What character features were you seeking for Calliope? How did you come up with her name?
I love not so common names.  Maybe because my name is Christa and is also somewhat uncommon.  I'm not sure how I decided on Calliope, but I thought it was different and would be very hard for my poor Margarita to pronounce, so again adding to the humor is always my motto!  She had to be vegan.  I knew that from the beginning because not only is it sometimes difficult to be the odd man (or woman) out in some situations, but my Mexican mami Margarita who will cook every part of the cow had to square off against someone completely opposite, which would mean Calliope had to be a vegan.  I'm all about making situations awkward for my poor characters.


3.       There is a culture shock as soon as Calliope meets Peter’s mother. Did you have any personal experience with culture shock? Please describe.
Personal experience with culture shock...hmmm...uh yes!  Absolutely!  I don't want to give anything away but there's a certain scene with a bowl of posole soup that actually happened to me.  I played it off a little better than my character, Calliope, but it practically gave me a heart attack none the less.  My mother-in-law is nothing like Margarita, thank goodness, but it took her and I awhile to understand each other.  I understand a lot of Spanish now but I'm horrible at speaking it so we have this weird communication where she speaks in Spanish and I speak in English but somehow it works. 

4.       Can you please compare and contrast the relationships Calliope has with Peter and Eddie?
Calliope has always been friends with Peter and I think deep down, she knew they were always just friends.  It really changes when Peter comes home to his mother.  It's a very blind-siding situation when Peter becomes this instant mama's boy and leaves Calliope on her own, especially since Margarita speaks a different language.  Peter is one of those guys that has his own demons and puts on quite the facade to get everyone to love him, Calliope included.  Eddie on the other hand doesn't put up with any BS.  At all.  And he somewhat kick starts Calliope finally having to admit to herself her true feelings about Peter and about the kind of love she deserves.  Eddie is Calliope's truth.

5.       What are your thoughts concerning those who still possess “old school” values and prejudices like Margarita?
My thoughts on "old school" values…hmmm…well, I think they have their own value in any culture really.  When you peel away all the layers of complication in any relationship, I feel like the "old school" values will shine through.  And that's definitely the case with Margarita.  She is the typical old school, hard working Mexican mother that loves her sons and loves her family and sometimes that's all you need.  Take away all the stress and artificial nonsense of our technology driven texting, messaging, facebooking, tweeting lives and you end up having to look at each other and be honest with each other.  Plus, you have to love and respect an old school Mexican mami's cooking, it is second to none.  

6.       Do you think Calliope learned anything from living in La Casa, and, if so, what?
I think Calliope learned a little something about love and being honest with herself.  Plus, she learned how to make a mean tamale!

7.       What is your writing process like?
I write copious notes before I begin any new project.  I know the funny scenes that I want to include and I build around those and outline the entire thing.  I make changes along the way here or there but I sometimes laugh at all my notes.  They tend to look like the scribblings of the serial killer from Seven or something.  I have a good time writing and since I work a full time day job and then have two kids and a husband to come home to with happy but hungry faces, I usually don't get to write until after my kids got to bed at night.  

8.       What do you like about being a writer? What do you dislike?
I started writing in college for fun and have stuck to that motto. I just have a lot of fun with it and don't take anything to seriously, obviously since I write comedies.  I wrote my first novel My Midlife & Married Romance Novel Life and it got the writing bug in me.  I couldn't stop because it's my avenue to be creative and share my stories with all those that are willing to enjoy them.  The part I don't like is the marketing.  I'll be honest, it's a tough sell to get readers and I've heard so many of my friends tell me that they don't read for fun, they don't have time…so sad really.  I've always been a bookworm, I thank my dad for that since he always was buying me really cool books to read when I was a kid…oh wait, he still does that.  And I love it.  

9.       Do you feel your book is an inspiration to our Latina readers? How so?

Well, I really don't write to inspire anything but a smile and a laugh.  I read a ton and sometimes I'm in the mood for something deep and tragic and tear jerking and then sometimes, I want something to make me laugh. I would love for Latina women to read my book and just enjoy it, laugh at it, identify with it on some level since I love comments that I've gotten from my Latina friends and family like, "oh, that is so my mom."  I love that, I love making people laugh with a funny love story.  Sometimes life is just too serious, we need stuff to make us laugh, so I hope to inspire some smiles.

10.   What are you working on now?
Right now, I'm working on the first book of a new series.  For now, until I change my mind ten thousand times, it's called The Dating Disasters Anonymous Club and the first book is titled Hazel Mae and the 5 Losers Who Loved Her.  I'm hoping to have it ready to go late this year.

Up Next: A review of WHITE GIRL IN LA CASA

Monday, June 16, 2014

Q&A with Author Elizabeth Reyes

Elizabeth Reyes was born and raised and continues to live in sunny southern California. She's married and has two wonderful teens. Her love for writing began when she was just a kid though, she never really had any dreams or aspirations of doing it for a living. Then along came the age of eReaders and she saw an opportunity to get her writing out for the world to read without jumping through hoops and getting past the red tape of trying to get traditionally published. The Moreno Brothers series has literally changed her life. She now wakes up to go to work a few yards from her bed. 5th Street is her second series with 4 out--Noah, Gio, Hector and Abel out already and on more to come. There is also the Moreno Brothers spinoff series. Recently, she just put out her first traditionally published book, Desert Heat. For more information, log onto

Welcome, Elizabeth!

1. You have written several books—many are part of a series (The Moreno Brothers, Fate, 5th Street). How do you plan out the books for a series?
I don't. The stories just suddenly come to me. Like Fate for example. I had never planned on writing a spinoff of the series and then along came cousin Vincent Moreno in Making You Mine. He and Rosie hit it off and, next thing you know, I had another story coming fast and furiously. Same goes for all the others. I thought I was DONE with the Moreno Brothers then I got the idea for Forever Yours and now I have 2 novellas in the works and possibly more. When the story comes to me it just does and there is no silencing it until I write it out.

2. We understand you are promoting your new novel, Desert Heat. How is this different from your previous books?

It's a brand new series. Brand new family. Brand new place (Vegas) and a whole new dynamic. Muscle cars and bands. It's also my debut traditionally published book and the first that is available in stores.   

3. What is your writing process like?

I really don't have one. A story just comes to me and I start writing. I never outline. I write as the scenes play out in my head and sometimes the scenes play out while I'm writing and even I'm like What the? There are times when I'll be writing 2 or even three stories at a time because I hit a wall with one so I move on to the other.

Where do you start?
All over. I've been known to start in one place then suddenly that becomes the middle and I have to go back and write the back story rather than tell it. Sometimes I start at the climax in the prologue and then the first chapter goes back to when they first met like in Desert Heat and Making You Mine. It's always different. 

4. What personality features do you consider when writing lead female characters?

I like them to be strong but not too strong. I know most want the female lead to be strong and independent but sometimes it gets annoying when they're a little too headstrong. They come across as overly stubborn and unyielding.

What features do you consider for lead male characters?
PROTECTIVE! It's a must. They protect their loved ones fiercely! They are also very down to earth and likable even if they are rough around the edges. But I personally like to see male leads fall and fall hard. So when they love they love with everything they have. This goes both ways. I hate reading books where one seems to be more into the other. They have to be mutually head over heels for each other.  *sigh* I also personally don't care for "perfect" characters. So they have to always be slightly flawed because aren't we all? I think it's very unrealistic to have a character be perfect in every way.

5. As a romance author, what do you think is the key element for that “spark” between your characters?

Something's gotta click. They have to do something for one another that no one else has ever done. This is a tough one too because you can't have the same thing click in every story. I just think about ALL the couples I know and it's funny but there is always something very unique that each does for the other. Not everyone needs the same things either. So while tough to come up with a different thing it's also one of the parts I enjoy best about bringing characters together.

6. What do you do when writer's block hits you?

I start another story. LOL I mentioned this in one of the previous questions. Writing has become a bit of an addiction for me. If I planned on writing all day and I suddenly hit a wall I don't walk away I simply open another doc usually one I've already started and get that story going. Something usually comes to me eventually and I can get back to the other story.

7. We understand that you write for young adult as well. How do you reply to those that deem these books a tad too sexual for younger audiences?

I don't. To each his own. Just like parents parent differently and I'd never be one to tell anyone they were doing it wrong. It's the same thing with YA stories. Like a parent I believe in being realistic. I have a seventeen and a nineteen year old. They both have lots of friends and I have lots of nephews and nieces who are at that same age. I refuse to sugar coat or close my eyes and pretend that underage drinking and sex don't happen. Like when I talk to my kids openly and honestly, I'd rather write the truth and include real consequences. I'd prefer my kids read a book that says yes teens have sex but there is a responsible way to go about it and then the wrong way and see here? There are some major consequences both physically and emotionally. They can then decide if they are ready for it. Because at the end of the day they will be the ones who make the final decision. Not me.       

8.  What do you hope people to gain from your books?

A temporary escape from the real world. Maybe a smile or two, some laughs and even a heartfelt cry. So far my books have all had happy endings. So even if you cry a little I promise you'll go away feeling all warm and fuzzy in the far. ;) 

9. Do you feel your books are an inspiration to today’s Latina? If so, how?

I never came into this to inspire anyone. My reasons for writing is really quite selfish. It fulfills a need in me. A passion. I just love writing stories. It's my therapy. Even when things are falling apart around me I can sit and write and escape from everything in the world of my characters. But I have had many emails and messages who have been inspired by my writing. Not necessarily all Latina but just aspiring writers. So that's just been the icing for me. 

10. What’s your next project?

I have so many! I've already written the final story of my 5th Street series "Felix" and am SO excited about it. I should do the cover reveal sometime in late summer or early fall. I'm also working on two Moreno Brother's novellas. I also have Lorenzo and Sydney's stories brewing and then there is the next in my Desert Heat series. So much MUCH more to come and very excited about it! Stay tuned!  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: PLAYING WITH DESTINY by Diane Escalera

Destiny Quinn lives for her job. She loves being an IT Recruiter, traveling nationwide. But all work and no play has left her feeling restless. It's been a year since she's gone out on a date — or slept with a man. Suddenly, Destiny can't think about anything else. She's not looking for a relationship, just a good time and a sexy diversion. One steamy night of mind-blowing pleasure, then maybe she can get back to business.

Christian LaCosta wants to prove to his family — and himself — that he is relationship material. Lately, it seems like everyone around him is in love. Maybe it's time to give up the fast life and fast women, quit being the odd man out. Christian decides to take the plunge and join an online dating service. When he's unwittingly hooked up with a luscious neighbor named Destiny, the coincidence is too much. Christian doesn't believe in fate, but one look at Destiny, and he's seeing a whole new future. Now he must convince this career-driven beauty that work isn't everything. Take a chance on them, and she can have it all.

WARNING: Food Play, Hot Sex, Latin Hunk

Reviewed by: Bela
Rating: 4 stars

Review:  Destiny wasn’t looking for love; she was just looking for a good time. No strings attached. Then came Christian LaCosta, a gorgeous hunk of male.


“Christian LaCosta,” he said, with a husky timbre in his voice. He reached for her hand.
“Destiny Quinn,” she replied, trying not to stammer. She gave him a firm handshake, did her best to maintain composure, because up-close he looked even more incredible.
“Destiny, huh?” Still grasping her hand, he stared into her eyes. “I think so,” he said, nodding approvingly.

What a line. Yet she secretly loved it. “Can I have my hand back?”

Wowza! He had me from the very first hand shake. Also, he knows martial arts, he can build a house, and he cooks? Can you say “PERFECTION”!? The best part about Christian was his restrained and protective nature.

The sexual energy between the two exploded from page one. Who doesn’t think that Latin guys are so freaking hot?

The bulk of the story basically concentrated on the physical heat between the two lovers with a brief history of the characters. It was lust at first sight for these two, and the details can be quite racy.

Working women will be able to relate to Destiny’s marriage to her job. She is the fiercely independent woman that’s needed in today’s tough world. She’s happy being the leader of her life and refuses to settle—that’s absolutely admirable!

Who can blame Destiny for wanting to keep things simple without the drama? After all, she had enough of it with her ex, who, of course, decided to show up out of the blue. The ex is always the complication. What a psycho!

A well-written, fast-paced, spicy romance!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Q&A with Author Diane Escalera

Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Diane Escalera makes her home in coastal North Carolina. The sultry surroundings are a steady source of inspiration for her hot love stories. Diane is married, has two children and a super cute dachshund she can’t get enough of. She writes contemporary romance and is published with Kensington Publishing and Lyrical Press.
Promoting her newest novella, PLAYING WITH DESTINY, Diane joins us for a quick Q&A.
1) What gave you the idea for PLAYING WITH DESTINY?
The hero in this story had never been in a real relationship. He loved the fast life, fast chicks. I thought it would be fun to turn the tables on him. What if he fell for a woman who was just looking for a one-night stand?   
2) This is book 3 of the LATIN HEAT TRILOGY. Can you please tell us a little about this series?
I had been wanting to feature a Latin hero in a mainstream book because there aren't too many out there. The character ended up exceeding my expectations, so I figured, why not throw an equally sexy brother and a cousin into the mix? The idea evolved into a Latin Heat Trilogy starring the hunky LaCosta men. Each story can stand alone, and readers who love sensual tales and passionate heroes should enjoy this series.       
3) What personality traits or features do you consider when writing your lead female characters? How about your male characters?
I spend a lot of time figuring out who my characters are. So many things shape a person, and I start with their childhood, family, etc. Where did they come from? What made them who they are today? I try to draw from my Latin roots, create characters we can all relate to. They have flaws, but they also have integrity, respect, and a good heart. Sometimes they're humorous. And always sexy!
4) Destiny states that you can’t have a job and a relationship. “It’d be the same as a long-distance relationship; they’d hardly ever see each other.” What are your thoughts?
Destiny's job makes her apprehensive because she travels on a regular basis. Relationships take work. You have to nurture them, which is harder to do when you're miles apart. But if you love someone, you do what it takes to be together.    
5) What is your process when writing a romance novel?
I need to have a few things in place before starting a new story such as a working title, my main characters, and the premise of the story. I like to have an idea where I’m going, but I’m never sure how I’m going to get there until I start writing.
6) What do you like best about being a writer? What do you dislike?
The best thing for me is seeing an idea transform into a story, and then sharing it with everyone else. I feel truly blessed to be able to do this. The only thing I dislike is that I can't write any faster.
7) What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Fortunately, I rarely have writer's block because I usually know where the story is going.  If I hit a bump, I'll step away and do something else. The answer eventually comes to me.
8) Who are some of your favorite authors?
recently Linda Howard, Lori Foster, and Jill Shalvis are my go-to authors. They're gifted storytellers who create smokin' hot heroes like the ones I adore.

9) Are you working on any other books?
I recently got back the rights to my Lyrical Press titles, and I'm in the process of self-publishing these books. I'm also working on a boxed set and a print edition of the Latin Heat Trilogy, which I hope to have available in the fall.
10) What advice would you give to our Latina readers?
I'll tell you what works for me. It's not easy being a woman, especially today. There are so many expectations, so much pressure to think, look, feel a certain way. But there are also endless opportunities. Listen to your heart, follow your instincts. Take care of yourself first, then take care of others. Find something you're passionate about. Work hard. And above all, smile! 

PLAYING WITH DESTINY is available at:

**Our review of PLAYING WITH DESTINY is coming up next!**