L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón: Review

L.A. Weather has it all: drama, humor and the immigrant experience. The Alvarado family is an eclectic group filled with secrets!

L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón
Genre: Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: September 7, 2021

Synopsis

FORECAST: Storm clouds are on the horizon in this fun, fast-paced novel of an affluent Mexican-American family from the author of the #1 Los Angeles Times bestseller Esperanza’s Box of Saints.

L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and all Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants is a little rain. He’s harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage.

Their three daughters—Claudia, a television chef with a hard-hearted attitude; Olivia, a successful architect who suffers from gentrification guilt; and Patricia, a social media wizard who has an uncanny knack for connecting with audiences but not with her lovers—are blindsided and left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way.

With quick wit and humor, Maria Amparo Escandón follows the Alvarado family as they wrestle with impending evacuations, secrets, deception, and betrayal, and their toughest decision yet: whether to stick together or burn it all down.

L. A. Weather: Author Bio

L.A. Weather author Maria Amparo Escandon.
Photo Credit: Chris Fortuna

María Amparo Escandón is the author of #1 Los Angeles Times bestseller
Esperanza’s Box of Saints and González & Daughter Trucking Co. Named a writer to watch by both Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times, she was born in Mexico City and has lived in Los Angeles for nearly
four decades.

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My Review

L. A. Weather shares the tale of the Alvarado family as they face personal struggles. Oscar and Keila Alvarado are on the brink of divorce after four decades of marriage. After a deep family discussion, they give themselves one year to figure out if their bond is worth saving.

Escandón beautifully writes about one family’s immigration experience. Oscar and Keila have deep roots in their Mexican culture that they lovingly pass onto their 3 daughters: Claudia, Olivia, and Patricia. While all three children adapted to the American ways of living, they also hold onto their Mexican roots. Their family journey is part of their story, and as the story progresses, we see shades of how important culture is deeply rooted for all.

While the Alvarado children fight to keep their family unit whole, their personal lives are in a state of flux. They are powerful women facing emotional abuse and guilt while attaining their goals. While Claudia, Olivia and Patricia share close family ties, their personal struggles leave them at a crossroads.

L.A. Weather is definitely a page turner! It kept me engrossed down to the surprising final pages. You’ll definitely want this powerful story!

Thank you to Flatiron Books and Netgalley for the gifted copy. L.A. Weather comes out Tuesday, September 7th!

Contact Cathleen!

October 2019 New Releases

I adore the magic of October! Autumn is in full swing, and it’s the time for everything frightful! There are certainly some books released during this time that fit the bill!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: October 8

Ninth House is Leigh Bardugo’s highly anticipated release. This will be Bardugo’s first venture into writing Adult Fiction, taking us into the world of Alex Stern, a high school dropout who is given the opportunity to attend Yale, while monitoring the clandestine (and at times dark) activities of the elite.

Full Throttle: Stories by Joe HIll
Publisher: Gollancz Books
Genre: Horror
Release Date: Oct 1, 2019

Full Throttle is a short story compilation that contains 13 tales of human struggle and terror. Two of these stories are co-written with Stephen King. I’m sure that these stories will be charged with enough psychological tension to keep anyone awake at night!

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: P.G. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA/Paranormal
Release Date: October 8, 2019

Renee Ahdieh’s The Beautiful tells a tale of Celine, a dressmaker fleeing from Paris who becomes captivated with the glamour of New Orleans within the 19th century. As the story unfolds, beauty of this new world also reveals a haven of mystery and supernatural intrigue.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Rin Chupeco writes an intense story about a betrayal that is the cause of twin sisters ruling opposite ends of a world that ceases to rotate. It is up to their daughters to stop sinister forces that threaten their very livlihood, while discovering the secret behind their stories family conflict.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu
Story by Suzanne Walker
Genre: Graphic Novel/YA
Publisher: Lion Forge
Release Date: October 15, 2019

Mooncakes is a graphic novel that tells the story of a Nova, teen witch working at her grandmother’s bookshop, who helps out her childhood friend Tam, a werewolf. Nova and Tam’s story is heartfelt, set in a backdrop of magic and family lineage.

December 27, 2018: My Review on ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ by Liane Moriarty

Novel received from Book of the Month

Length: 453pp.

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Synopsis:

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

My Thoughts:

I usually don’t bother reading stories that are fixated on finding love. As soon as books venture into characters down-trodden and lost due to love, or moving on after a failed breakup, I put the book down. Yet reading ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ by Liane Moriarty was a nice blend of characters from different backgrounds drawn together, gaining empowerment after difficult life situations.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ follow the lives of nine individuals taking part of a pricey, 10 day wellness retreat at Tranquillum House. The workshops are run by an overzealous guru, applying her un-orthodox approach of healing to the attendees in order to attain transformative results.

The novel is written in the third person, each chapter taking the perspective of a different character. This made some parts of the story fast-paced, as a certain scene could be split in several chapter following several perspectives. This allowed the reader to see what the other attendees in the retreat were pondering at these tense moments.

Moriatry also delves into the lives of each person, revealing the inner truths of how Tranquillum House entered their lives. The story didn’t have a central ‘dark character’, if you will, for each person carried a personal life struggle which led to their self-discovery. Moriarty also writes in the perspective of the health guru and her consultants. Their input in this tale further opens up a window into the past that gives clarity to the bigger picture.

I also appreciated how Moriarty writes about the power of social media’s influence in our society. Ben and Jessica, a married couple in the wellness retreat, were attending Tranquillum House for marriage counseling due to the wife’s obsession in her appearance, leading to a constant need for ‘Likes’ on her Instagram account. Frances Welty, a once best-selling author, was attending Tranquillum House after suffering her first huge rejection and poor feedback due to (according to her publisher) a lack of online traffic and resources. Both women suffered from the harsh eye of the internet, but for different reasons: Jessica was at the mercy of comparing herself to beauty’s entrapment, while Frances struggled to thrive under a publishing company run by a younger, social-media savvy generation.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ was a pretty good read, even with the periodic slow pace it contained. Reading about relationship struggles normally isn’t a preference for me, but this didn’t take away from the story.

Rating: 4/5

December 17, 2018: Sleep, and Books

I didn’t sleep well last night. Every few months I have an evening when it takes a long time to sleep, and it’s so annoying when that happens. Especially days like today, since I won’t be home until after 7pm. Hopefully the hours will pass by quickly.

I’m looking forward to reading my book later on today. The halfway point in my story really brought on an issue that I kinda expected, but looking forward to seeing what happens next.

December 14, 2018: Reading Progress/Routines

I’m about halfway through ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’. The way that people assimilate to a leader’s outlandish routines is pretty astounding. It makes me wonder when the ‘breakthrough’ point will emerge.

I watched a YouTube video last night on a man explaining his reading routine. He talks about spending some nights reading until dawn. I really admire his motivation to read so much. I don’t think I could ever read like that, since I love my sleep. I really admire his passion for reading, though!