Thursday, December 21, 2017

Review: I’M SNOBBITY SNOWMAN by Maria Bardyukova and Quiet Riley

Snobbity Snowman has everything a snowman could possibly want: a shiny hat, freshly-picked noses and enough pride to last a lifetime. In fact, he is so egocentric that he can't even see when his life starts falling apart.

What disasters must take place to open his charcoal eyes? To help him see that pride and possessions cannot bring true happiness? Will he defrost his chilly ego and embrace the warmth of friendship? Only Snobbity can tell.

Depicting winter in rich and whimsical tones, Snobbity Snowman’s quirky characters and unexpected twists promise to leave a lasting impression on all its snobbulous readers.

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars

Review: This is the story of a snobby snowman that learns to see the light in his ways. It was kind of like the snowman’s version of Scrooge.

Illustrations were cute. I especially liked the facial expressions. I wish the text could’ve interacted more with the images. The images were so lively while the text just stood at the bottom of the page.

Overall, this was an okay holiday story.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Author Paz Ellis takes readers on a cross-cultural and trans-generational journey through her childhood in New Jersey to adulthood with Plantains and the 7 Plagues, A Memoir: Half-Dominican, Half-Cuban and Full Life.

Paz insightfully describes, the complexities and contradictions of growing up in the United States to a Dominican mother and a Cuban father. From her mother’s obsessive cleaning rituals to her father’s remarkable knack for invention, this book beautifully explains what living a hyphenated-life means for so many Hispanics. She writes about what it means to be American, and Cuban, and Dominican, and having to be all of those things and only one of them… all at the same time.

Following the passing of her mother, the author finds herself on a search for meaning through not only her past, but also her mother’s. This book is about life, loss, memory, culture, and family, the glue that determines who your family actually is- love. Written with a healthy dose of wit and an abundance of sincerity, Plantains and the 7 Plagues is honest, painfully relatable, and deeply heartfelt

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3.5 stars


Review: Born a “mutt,” Paz Ellis writes a memoir dating back to the courtship of her parents through her childhood in New Jersey.  

With witty sentiment and reverence, this story is a simply poignant recollection of a young girl’s life as she transitions into adulthood. Although lengthy and monotonous at times, Ellis still manages to bring her story to life. Her story is so insightfully detailed that it puts the reader in the author’s shoes, walking around in a half-Cuban/half-Dominican world.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: MASQUERADING OUR LOVE by Audrey Rich

Junior year has been tough on Thalía Reynari.

A new high school, trying to fit in with new friends, schoolwork, family commitments. With everything going on in her life, Thalía could use a break, an adventure.

So when Thalía meets Christopher, the most gorgeous guy in town, her life should change for the better, right?

Don’t bet on it.

Thalía’s conservative parents insist she’s too young to date. Plus, Thalía and Christopher find themselves caught in the middle of a simmering feud that’s kept the two families apart for a decade. And no one is sure if young love will be enough to bridge this divide.

As they hide their relationship behind masks they must decide if this new love is worth losing their parents’ approval.

First-time novelist Audrey Rich imbues Masquerading Our Love with the joy and pain of how teens live life today as they wrestle with love, friendship, and faith. Thalía, Christopher, and Rich’s entire cast of characters is so vibrant, so alive, that they’re sure to leap off the page—and into your heart.

Buy this stand alone novel and lose yourself in a clean, wholesome story about young love determined to stay matter what.

Reviewed by:  Celia
Rating: 3 stars


Review: Surrounded by her new high school’s crowd of Beamers, Lexis, and Benzes, Thalía Reynari was the “clunker” of Stonehaven. Always academically driven and her nose in a book, she has always been the odd-girl-out and wouldn’t dare trade in her non-social status for the in-crowd…well, unless she’d have a shot at Parade Guy, for whom she might disobey her parents for.

As the story progresses, a whole slew of characters enter the scene, which portray the typical high school setting. It definitely brings you back to high school with all the various cliques and nameless faces. Story just had some characters that you forgot almost instantly—just like high school. It probably would’ve been better if the story had limited some of these characters.  

Thalía is a smart, endearing character that readers could look up to, but I guess I had a hard time understanding her journey. Did she want to be a swimmer or a life guard? What was her purpose?  And who was Parade Guy and why was he called that?

For me, the story had more questions than answers. The writing was good, but I just could not connect with the character or the story.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Review: DEAD SEASONS by R.M. James

A group of four wedding goers, on their way to California, get lost somewhere in Kansas. The car doesn’t work. Reception is down. And morning has mysteriously become evening. In utter confusion, they search their surroundings, only to find a dead girl, rotting in a creek.

They discover this small town is more than what it seems. From its undisclosed location, vacant establishments, and the bestial creature lurking in the shadows. When they come across the townsfolk, who take a keen interest in them, the four are then forced to participate in a simulation game, where newcomers must play to be allowed to leave.

In this place, their fears manifest into tangible forms meant to kill them. Sanity gets tested. Doubt consumes each unwilling player. Yet no one knows the exact rules of the game. Except for one detail. If you don’t play, you die. There can only be one winner.

Seasons change as the four contestants try to make it out of town alive.

Reviewed by: Sandra
Rating: 4 stars

Review: A group of friends get stranded in the middle of Kansas, where they stumble onto the body of a dead girl. Tension and emotions run high among the group as the struggle for escape reaches critical levels, especially when a killer is still out there. Possibly human or animal…something that is part dog or wolf? Whatever it was, it was hungry.
Somehow, one of them—Canela Robles—wanders off and encounters a man with a butcher knife. His name was Gabriel, a convict just released from prison. Now, he joins the group, which leaves everyone wondering who to trust. Who can you confide in? And who are you truly safe with? In fact, one just has to wonder who (or what) was the real danger. And “fear could do strange things to people.” (72)
The characters’ fears and secrets rise to the surface as their lives interweave into a fantastically spellbinding tale of suspense and horror.  Eventually, they realize that they’re stuck in some twisted game, and everyone’s a player. What kind of game? And what happens if you lose?

Mystery and surprise are unveiled in every corner of this book. At times, you can’t make sense of what’s going on because of all the cryptic info. Were they running from wildebeests or man-hunting cannibals?  Also, some of the details can be pretty sick. It was almost hard to take. In fact, this book struck me as a cross-over between Jeepers Creepers and Cabin Fever.

Still, well-written and strangely gripping.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Q&A with R.M. James

R.M. James wrote plays as a child and forced her sisters to read them. As she got older, her stories evolved into short movies. Her film and literature studies edged her into one of her truest callings: fiction writing. The majority of her time goes into caring for her family, taking nature shots, and imagining new scenes for another novel. She lives in Nevada.

1.       What inspired you to write Dead Seasons?
 I had a dream about a couple of friends jumping from season to literal season. That and the fact   that I    wanted to write a horror novel. I put the two together and created this novel.



2.       What was the hardest part about writing this book? 
The last part. Winter. Only because my sister died before I got to it. She had been my beta reader up until that point. My sister is a huge inspiration and the reason I dedicated the novel to her.  She also had a lot of influence in how I ended the book.



3.       What’s the premise of the game?

Depends on which character viewpoint. The point of the game is to get to the end and win. But it’s the getting there that’s hard.


4.       What was significant about the seasons?
Each season represented each player and their own journey. I’d say more, but I rather
the reader come to his or her own conclusion.


5.       What was Canela’s role as “the leaf” and why was she integral?
I’m not sure how to answer this question without giving a spoiler. But I will say, that she came into the game with the most to lose.


6.       There were a variety of characters in the story. What were some of the key issues between them?

Philip struggled with control and accepting what was happening. Nicole didn’t want to be alone. Aspen buried a lot of his emotions, and Canela needed to come to terms with her mortality.


7.       What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

I hope readers gain a new perspective when it comes to life and death. What we live for? What we can’t let go of? What it all means. And where we going. If nothing else, I hope they enjoy the read.


8.       What inspired you to be a writer?
I don’t remember what inspired me. I have been writing since I was a little kid. I used to make my sisters read my stories. I think that’s what it is. I wanted to share my stories with other people.


9.       What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?
I love the writing and I love editing. I think my least favorite part is making time. I have small children. It’s not always easy to sit down and write. So, I guess that.


10.   Who are some of your favorite authors?

I get asked this question a lot. I don’t have favorite authors. I keep discovering new ones every year that I add to my list of other books I’ll check out by that person. Every year I love a certain few more than others and it switches all the time. I have many.


11.   If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main characters? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)

Whoa, I have never thought of this. I guess for Canela, I can picture Dania Ramirez. For Nicole, Teresa Palmer. For Aspen, Evan Peters, and for Philip, Nicholas Hoult. This question took me the longest to write. Haha.


12.   Are you working on anything right now?

I’m working on a psychological thriller at the moment. Been loving every minute of writing it.


13.   And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?

My hope is that we continue to write and publish and support one another. But also make main characters that are Latinos as well. When I was growing up and reading, it was rare to encounter a Hispanic main character in my favorite genres. I hope that changes for my children.