May 19, 2015

Q&A WITH SABRINA SOL (GIVEAWAY & EXCERPT)

 
The Latina Book Club loves romance novels, and we are super excited to have discovered Sabrina Sol's Delicious Desires series and have her chatting with us today.  First, we want to congratulate her on the debut of DELICIOUS TEMPTATION, book one of her new series.  Welcome, Sabrina!
 
 
GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment on this blog and you may win a free book by Sabrina Sol!  Details below.
 
 
 
Q:  You are called The Romance Chica.  How did you earn that name?  What sorts of things does The Romance Chica share on her blog?
 
Sabrina:  I actually gave the name to myself. When I was starting out as an aspiring author, I thought of different ways of how I could explain to others that I was a Latina author who wrote romance stories. And The Romance Chica seemed to fit perfectly! Plus it helped that the Twitter name (@theromancechica) was available. LOL.  On the blog, I share the latest news about my books and books by my author friends. I also like to profile inspirational and successful Latinas in a column I call “Real Life Latina Heroine.”
 
 
Q:  Entangled Publishing just bought your three-book series Delicious Desires.  Congratulations!  And we are very excited that DELICIOUS TEMPTATION debuts today!  Tell us about Amara and why this good girl turns naughty.
 
Sabrina:  Well, there are two reasons why Amara decides she’d like to try being bad for once in her life. First, she’s grown frustrated with having her parents dismiss her ideas to save their panaderia. She’s acted like a good daughter and a good girl for her entire life, yet it really hasn’t helped her achieve what she really wants. Secondly, the arrival of Eric—a bad boy whom she has been in love with since she was a teenager—also spurs this need in her to do something that no one would ever expect.
 
 
Q:   And we want to hear about Books 2 and 3 in the Delicious Desires trilogy.  What’s next? Who’s next?!
 
Sabrina:  Although I’m very excited about the next two books, I can’t share too much yet since I’m still working on them. But I can tell you this…Daisy, Amara’s cousin who starts working at the panaderia, gets to have some fun of her own in one of the books.
 
 
Q:  Who are your favorite romance authors?
 
Sabrina:  Oh, wow. That’s such a hard question because I have so many. But if I had to narrow it down to authors that are automatic buys for me—meaning I have to get every book they write—then I’d say Megan Hart, Bella Andre, Tessa Bailey, Louisa Bacio and Nikki Prince.
 
 
Q:  Do you find that Latinos are well represented in the romance genre? If not, why not? And what can be done about it?
 
Sabrina:  I’m so glad you asked this! I definitely believe that Latinos are underrepresented in the romance genre, especially the women. While I’m sure you could find some books where the hero was Latin, I think you’d have a harder time finding Latina heroines— especially in books on the romance bestsellers lists. I’m not sure why this is, but I’m definitely trying to do something about it! All of my heroines are Latinas and always will be. Not because I set out to make some big racial statement, but because when I envision these stories, that’s who I see in my head…someone like me. I grew up reading my mom’s Harlequin romances and never questioned why the main characters didn’t have last names like my cousins or even eat some of my favorite Mexican dishes. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I started searching out stories that had Latinas as main characters. I could find them in literary fiction and women’s fiction, yet hardly ever in romance.
 
But I’m hopeful that things are changing. With the success of TV shows like “Jane the Virgin,” I think Hollywood is starting to realize that Latinos want to see themselves reflected in what they watch. And there is definitely a movement in the publishing world right now where readers are demanding to see more diversity in books. I guess the one way to make sure that diversity happens, is to support these types of shows and books once they are available.
 
 
Q:  We also know that you have written a vampire romance. Which Tia or cousin inspired that novel?
 
Sabrina:  LOL! I can’t say there was one specific relative. All of my characters share some kind of trait or background with someone I’m close to. Even myself. But it’s usually a mix of people rather than being totally based on one person. If I did that, I’d never hear the end of it! But it does help to think of people I know when I’m writing a character because then I can refer to that person when I’m describing how he or she talks or gestures. One cousin actually thought that one of the sex scenes in the book had been based on one of her “experiences.” But I had to remind her that she’d never told me about it so I couldn’t have written about it. Needless to say she was a little embarrassed.
 
 
Q:  Where and how can your fans reach you?
 
Sabrina:  I love connecting with readers whenever and wherever I can. Here’s where you can usually find me when I’m not in the writing cave:
 
Twitter: @theromancechica
Instagram: sabrina_theromancechica
 
 
 
GIVEAWAY: Please leave a comment below for a chance to win a digital copy of one of Sabrina Sol’s romance novellas (Winner’s choice: REUNITED or MY GUARDIAN VAMPIRE).  Disclaimer –both are super sexy reads!
 
 
 
EXCERPT:  And now, here’s a little taste of DELICIOUS TEMPTATION:
 
Publisher:  Brazen Entangled
 
“Let me do that,” Eric said, pulling her hands down to her side and moving behind her. He untied the halter straps behind her neck, then touched the zipper. Amara nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt his soft lips on her back.

     “Tell me something,” he rasped. “Did you wear this for him? Your answer will determine how I take this dress off of you.”

     A thrill ran up her body. She tried to answer, but she could barely breathe.

     He moved his lips to the side of her neck, just below her jawline, making a delicious trail of light, butterfly kisses that electrified every nerve. When he reached around and started caressing her breasts, she moaned in satisfaction.

      “Well, I’m waiting. Am I going to rip this dress right off you so you can never wear it again, or am I going to slide it off your body using only my teeth?”

     Her thighs quivered at his sexy threat. Either way sounded absolutely wonderful.
 
 
 
BOOK SUMMARY:
 
The only thing naughtier than a bad boy is a good girl...
 
 
Amara Maria Robles is a good girl. So good that she gave up her dreams of becoming a renowned pastry chef to help her parents with their struggling Mexican bakery. Yet her parents reject any changes she suggests, and refuse to sell her mouth-watering confections. Clearly being a good girl isn't paying off. So when her brother's sexy ex-best friend walks into the bakery, Amara's tempted to be very bad indeed...
 
After a scandal twelve years ago, resident bad boy Eric Valencia has returned to make things right with his family and friends. One glance at Amara and her wicked curves, however, and Eric finds himself thinking about how she’d feel beneath him—something he promised Amara's brother he would never think about, let alone do.
 
But this bad boy is in deep trouble...because Amara's determined to have her cake, and Eric, too.
 
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Sabrina Sol is the chica who loves love. She writes steamy romance stories featuring smart and sexy Latinas in search of their Happily Ever Afters. She lives in Southern California with her husband, three kids, two Beagles and one Bulldog, and is part of a larger, extended Mexican family whose members are NOT the source of inspiration for her characters. Or so she tells them.  Visit her at www.sabrinasol.com and www.theromancechica.com.

May 15, 2015

MOTHERS WEEK: FLOATING ON MAMA’S SONG / FLOTANDO EN LA CANCION DE MAMA by Laura Lacamara

  
This week the Latina Book Club has celebrated Mothers with books with strong, courageous Mamás. 
We began with our Book of the Month, THE CRUEL COUNTRY. We hope you have enjoyed our selections.  
Feel free to share your favorite “Mother” book with us.  
Here now is our final selection.  Happy Reading.  Happy Mothers Week!




Singing makes me so happy. – Mamá



Laura Lacamara has written a sweet, magical children’s book inspired by her mother, who was an opera singer in Havana.  Lacamara’s book comes to live with the vibrant and amazing illustrations from talented illustrator Yuyi Morales.  Readers of all ages will enjoy this book again and again.  And, best of all, the book is bilingual -- written in both English and Spanish.    

BOOK SUMMARY:  Anita comes home from school on her seventh birthday to find her mother singing opera and floating in the air.  Everyone who hears the music is happy and floats too, including their dog and the neighbors’ animals.  But the neighbors don’t like the singing or the flying and complain loudly.  Abuela scolds her daughter and orders her to stop singing.  Now Mamá is sad and soon everyone, including Anita and the animals, are miserable too. And it will take an unusual incident for Anita, Mamá and Abuela to realize what a special gift all the women in the family have, and be proud of it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Cuban-born Laura Lacámara is the award-winning author and illustrator.  She wrote FLOATING ON MAMA’S SONG / FLOTANDO EN LA CANCION DE MAMA, a bilingual picture book inspired by her mother, who was an opera singer in Havana. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales and published by HarperCollins, this book was a Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2010 and was a Tejas Star Book Award Finalist for 2011 - 2012.  Visit her at http://www.lauralacamara.com.


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:
Yuyi Morales has won the Pura Belpre Medal several times for her illustrations.  She’s also been the recipient of the Christopher Award and the Jane Adams Award, the SCBWI Golden Kite Medal, the Americas Award, the California book Award, and the Tomas Rivera Award won in 2004 and 2008. Visit her at www.yuyimorales.com.


May 14, 2015

MOTHER'S WEEK: AS MY MOTHER WOULD SAY: COMO DECIA MI MAMA by Judith Valles


Join the Latina Book Club this week as we feature books with strong, courageous mothers. 
And remember our Book of the Month, THE CRUEL COUNTRY, another tale of the power of a mother's love. 
Happy Reading.  Happy Mother's Week.
 
 
 
 
"Learn from your parents if they are still alive.  They know you best and will give you the best advice based on the mistakes they’ve made in their own lives. Listen to them with respect; they know what they’re talking about.” -- Judith Valles
 
 
 
As we celebrate Mothers this week, we came across this powerful tribute to a mother.  AS MY MOTHER WOULD SAY: COMO DECIA MI MAMA is a short, funny, wise 37-page book full of "dichos" -- sayings, phrases that former San Bernadino Mayor Judith Valles collected from her mother and used in her personal and professional life, and which she gladly shares with other family members, friends, colleagues, and now with us readers.
 
BOOK SUMMARY:   AS MY MOTHER WOULD SAY is about being raised in a conservative Mexican Family that valued the traditions and sayings of Mexico. The proverbs or "dichos" were a daily dose of teachings from Valles mother.  The family believed their mother made them up as situations arose and it was not until they began using the dichos as adults, that other people they met from Mexico could relate, laugh and say "my grandma used to say that."  These dichos are not so common anymore among young Mexican families, and at the request of many of her colleagues, co workers and students over the years to write about these sayings, Valles decided to do so. While some of these dichos may not be sophisticated, profound, and intellectual, they are amazingly cogent. They have been invaluable to Valles in developing my style in management and leadership.#
 
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Judith Valles, 81, has three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  She became the first Latina president of a university or college in the state of California in 1988 when she presided over Valley College.  She was also Mayor of San Bernardino from 1998-2006 and the first female Hispanic mayor of any city in the United States with a population of more than 100,000.  She has retired several times but has not been successful at it. She has been consulting and often called upon to be a speaker at different conferences She lives in San Bernardino, California, her hometown.
 
 

May 13, 2015

MOTHER'S WEEK: A FALLING STAR by Chantel Acevedo

 
Join the Latina Book Club this week as we feature books with strong, courageous mothers. 
 And remember our Book of the Month, THE CRUEL COUNTRY, another tale of the power of a mother's love. 
Happy Reading.  Happy Mother's Week.

 

"My mother said I came back to her at sea. She said I appeared  out of  nowhere, like a falling star, and that I had changed from what I once was..." --- Stella Maris



Chantel Acevedo heard about the 1980 Mariel Boatlift from a friend whose family actually came over from Cuba during that time.  And, from that kernel of an idea she went on to write A FALLING STAR -- the story of two mothers and two daughters written in a very creative style where the past and the present follow and overlap, and where four heroines speak from their hearts. 

BOOK SUMMARY:  Magda Elena Del Pozo and Solamaris Morales grew up in a Havana, Cuba. Different as night and day but best of friends.  Magda Elena has a husband and two beautiful daughters. Life under Castro's rule is hard on them and they decide to join the Mariel Boatlift and begin a new life in America.  Solamaris is a woman alone with a baby, but when her baby dies there is nothing and no one for her anywhere. The crossing will change the lives of these women forever.

Daysy Maria Del Pozo is a Florida teenager living in a house with prison bars and an overprotective mother who won't let her do anything fun.  She doesn't understand her mother or her melancholy, and so Daysy pours out all her frustrations into her dream journal.  Stella Maris Morales-Quinn lives in Pittsburgh with her stepfather.  She's a precocious 10-year old, depressed over her mother's suicide and obsessed with all things Cuban.  She is watching a TV special when she first sees the Del Pozo family talking about the Mariel crossing.  As fate would have it, Stella runs into Daysy and her family while on vacation in Florida.  Suddenly the chance meeting reveals old secrets and new discoveries that will once again change the lives of these families forever.

Readers will find this book an emotional, tragic and heroic tale about mothers and daughters; love and loss; death and rebirth; forgiveness and redemption. The Mariel Boatlift changed the lives of millions in Cuba and in America.  Acevedo does an excellent job of capturing those feelings.#



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  A FALLING STAR (Carolina Wren Press) was the 2013 Doris Bakwin Award Winner. Chantel Acevedo's first novel, LOVE AND GHOST LETTERS won the Latino International Book Award and was finalist for the Connecticut Book of the Year.  SONG OF THE RED CLOAK, a historical novel for young adults, was published in 2011. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines, including American Poetry Review.  Visit her at www.chantelacevedo.com.


NOTE:  For those readers interested in learning more about the Mariel Boatlift, there are several worthy documentaries on You Tube.
 


May 12, 2015

MOTHER'S WEEK: A MIRACLE FROM GOD IN THE HANDS OF A MOTHER BY CATALINA PRIETO

 
Join the Latina Book Club this week as we feature books with strong, courageous mothers. 
And remember our Book of the Month, THE CRUEL COUNTRY, another tale of the power of a mother's love. 
Happy Reading.  Happy Mother's Week.
"The point is, it doesn't matter that he doesn't have the best balance in the world, it doesn't matter that it doesn't sound right when he speaks sometimes, it doesn't matter that a wild child sometimes runs loose in his mind; with such a great and courageous spirit, being different doesn't matter." 

This is the most courageous and inspiring book I've ever read.  It's a beautiful table of a mother's determination to do what is best for her child in the face of incredible physical and spiritual obstacles.
A MIRACLE FROM GOD IN THE HANDS OF A MOTHER is written by Rocio Carrasquilla's youngest daughter.  Catalina shares with us the story of her mother and her brother Jimmy.  The family lived in Colombia, when Jimmy was a year old he suffered a severe reaction to the polio vaccine.  Overnight the healthy baby boy contracted cerebral palsy and woke up paralyzed.  Rocio proved to be "the most stubborn mother ever."  She hounded her son's doctor until he agreed to teach her the rehabilitation exercises her son desperately needed. She believed that as long as her son was disabled, her whole family --two older daughters and a husband-- were also disabled so she set out to make her son and her family well.  From then on, Rocio was on a mission to get her son to walk again and to become a full-functioning person, and everyone in the family helped.  Achievements were small and sometimes took years to achieve, but each one was celebrated. Today Jimmy can walk and talk, and has a full life filled with work and friends all thanks to his mother's stubbornness and her faith in God.
The author has done a great job in honoring her mother and brother.  Readers will be touched by this story, by this mother's strength and fortitude to protect her child.###

Note:  This book was chosen as a conversation book by Las Comadres and Friends National Book Club.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Catalina Prieto was born in Colombia in 1977. In 1999, she earned her degree in Business Administration at Universidad Tecnologia de Bolivar in Cartagena, Colombia, and went on to work as a business administrator at a family business dedicated to maritime shipping.  In 2007, she moved to the United States where she was a member of the New Jersey Air National Guard.  Although the literary world isn't part of her professional life, she is passionate about writing.  A MIRACLE FROM GOD IN THE HANDS OF A MOTHER is her first literary endeavor.