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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Love In Translation by Sara Palacios (Author Gust Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Sara Palacios, author of Love In Translation!

Author Guest Post

In Love In Translation, there is a scene where Andres (our sexy Spanish chef from across the hall) presents Emily with a variety of cookies one morning. Here is a brief snippet from that scene: 

 I look through the peep hole and see Andres — definitely the last person I expected to see outside my door this morning. But, seeing him is a breath of fresh air. The sight of him brings an instant grin to my face and a chill down my spine. He is wearing a sleeveless blue T-shirt that accentuates his arms, along with striped pajama bottoms. His hair is pulled back in a ponytail. He looks really, really good. I could definitely wake up to that every morning. 

“Good morning,” his accent is heavy, but it doesn’t matter; I understand him easily. 

“¡Buenos días!” I say, switching to Spanish. I am determined to put my late night study sessions to use. 

He stands there quietly for a moment and then lifts up a dish covered with a paper towel. “Are you hungry?” he asks. 

“Sí,” I say softly. I am curious to see what is underneath the paper towel. 

I open the door wider and invite him inside. He grabs a seat at my tiny dining room table and I offer him a drink. 


“I have milk, water, orange juice, and soda.” 

“Una soda, please,” he replies, so I grab two soda cans and join him at the table. 

He catches me curiously eyeing the plate as I sit down and he laughs. He slides it toward me and lifts up the napkin. “For you,” he says eagerly. The plate is filled with a variety of pastries, most of which are sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Oh my, those look yummy. ”Muchas gracias.” 

I glance from the plate back up to him. He is gazing at me excitedly. 

“Try one,” he says, and I do just that. I lift one of the pastries up and take a bite. It is light, puffy, and lemon flavored; absolutely delicious. 

“MMmmmm,” I take another bite and feel several crumbs fall from my bottom lip. A sprinkle of sugar lands on my pants. 

“These are delicious.” 

“¿Delicioso?” He asks, translating the word. 

”Sí, muy delicioso. What are they?” I ask, curious why I have never tasted anything like this before. 

“Se llaman Magdalenas. I cook them for you this morning,” he says, sounding rather pleased with himself. 

“You made these?” I ask, amazed. 

He smiles and nods repeatedly, “Solo para ti.” 

Juicy right? Kind of makes you crave a cookie … and a new neighbor, huh? Well, in honor of this particular scene in the book, I present you lovely readers with a delicious recipe that I call the Andres, in honor of the sexy chef who made them. 

Here is what you will need: 

2/3 cup butter 
½ cup sugar 
1 egg yolk 
½ teaspoon lemon peel 
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (or canela if you want to practice your Spanish) 
2 cups flour 
½ cup powdered sugar 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the butter with the sugar, egg yolk and lemon peel until well incorporated. Combine your flour and your canela in another bowl. Mix the two bowls together with your hands (definitely getting a little dirty here) until well combined. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to your desired consistency (I usually do ¼ inch thick) and then cut into desired shape. Andres keeps his round but you can definitely use a heart shape cookie cutter or another fun design. Grease your cookie sheet and then bake for about 10 minutes. Once they are a golden, delicious color, take them out and then sprinkle them with a good amount of powdered sugar. Then … enjoy and hope to one day have them delivered by your very own Spanish chef.

About The Author

Sara Palacios is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a major in Advertising and a minor in English Literature. It was during her time in college that she really fell in love with the written word and ventured into writing her own stories. In addition to writing, Sara spends a majority of her time reading the works of other authors. She reads most genres – but thoroughly enjoys chick-lit, women’s and historical fiction.

When she isn’t busy reading or writing, Sara enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is happily married, the owner of two precious doggies and a new mom to a handsome baby boy. Sara is also an avid animal-lover, runner, yoga enthusiast, wannabe vegan, USA soccer fan, foodie and fashion blog-lover and Christian.

Love In Translation by Sara Palacios ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A Love In Translation Prize Package

Contest Dates: March 11 - April 1

Everyone who leaves a comment on Love In Translation by Sara Palacios ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win the Love In Translation prize package!

Prize package includes: 6 pack eau de parfum from Victoria's Secret, $10 gift card to Target and the following items from Bath and Body Works: Carried Away shower gel, 3 oz. Sparkling Blackberry Woods lotion, small stress relief candle and small White barn candle.

Anyone who purchases their copy of Love In Translation before April 1 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Please note this contest giveaway is open to US residents only.

Book Review

Love In Translation by Sara Palacios
Publisher: Independent Self-Publishing
Publication Date: February 10, 2013
Format: Paperback - 285 pages / Kindle - 320 KB / Nook - 760 KB
ISBN: 0988937824
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Love In Translation

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Still reeling from an unexpected breakup, Emily nurses her broken heart by spending time with her best friends and taking one-too-many vodka shots. After one long night, she takes a hard look inside herself and doesn’t like what she sees. She realizes that she has sacrificed too much in her failed relationships from the past and vows to never settle for anything less than almost-perfect again. As she picks up the pieces and regains her confidence, a sexy Spanish chef moves in across the hall and knocks her off her feet. What ensues is an unexpected and tantalizing affair that opens her eyes – and her heart – to a whole new world and leaves her feeling sexier than she has ever felt. Emily finally sees how easy love is supposed to be. Is happily-ever-after actually possible? Just when she starts to think so, she realizes that sometimes life gets more complicated before it gets easier. And complicated is an understatement when Steven (her best and oldest friend in the world) confesses his love for her. Everything spirals out of control as Emily must make a choice between love and friendship, and in doing so, possibly risk it all.

Love In Translation is a modern day love story about following your heart to unexpected places and taking chances in life … because sometimes you will find exactly what you are looking for.

Book Excerpt:

We finish lunch and I make my way back to my apartment. I notice that most of the boxes that were stacked up in the hallway earlier are now gone, and there are only a few remaining. There is still no sight of my new neighbor.

I maneuver through the remaining boxes and then fumble around in the bottom of my purse for my keys.

I feel a soft tap on my shoulder and jump.

I turn around and my heart begins to race. A gorgeous man stood in front of me. His eyes are deep brown, his hair is long and a silky shade of chocolate and his skin is glistening and tan.

My mouth goes dry. I stand there speechless, and staring upward because he is a few inches taller than me. The view from down here is actually very, very nice.

Hola,” he says in a deep Spanish accent. Then he smiles; his lips curving slightly up toward the right side of his mouth.

He is getting more gorgeous by the second.

I stare a little longer while I muster up the courage to say something. “Hi!” I say sweetly. I try to remain calm, “My name is Emily. Are you my new neighbor?” I ask, feeling like a complete idiot for stating the obvious. 

Neighbor, si,” he says as he nods enthusiastically and smiles nervously. He points at himself, “Andres,” he pauses, waiting for a reaction, “Andres Antonio Guadalupe Ramos,” he says with pride. I watched his mouth closely as he said this – rolling his tongue around the Rs in his first and last name – and felt the hair on my arms stand up.

I point at myself and tell him that my name is Emily, even though I am pretty sure that he got that the first time.

Andres stood there smiling. I can tell that he is nervous, which is good because I am nervous too. I look at him curiously, “Do you speak English?” I ask nice and slow. I’m not trying to offend him, but judging by his introduction and the pointing to his chest, I assume that he isn’t fluent.

He pauses for a second, and then pinches the air with his right index finger and thumb. “Un poco,” he says, indicating that he only knows a little.

This is going to be difficult since I only know a little bit of Spanish. It’s been years since I’ve said anything en español that wasn’t off a menu. I make a mental note to go to the bookstore as soon as humanly possible to get some books to brush up on my conversation skills.

I took Spanish in high school, which meant I pretty much only learned nouns. I can tell you that a “cat” is a “gato,” and that a “mountain” is a “montaña,” but that is about it. Unfortunately.

I decided in college that I wanted to study French in case I ever wound up in Paris. Well, I haven’t ever been to France, let alone Europe, so that was obviously a mistake. I should have taken Spanish just like everyone told me to, but no, I didn’t listen. If I had only known then that 10 years later I would be holed up in my hallway with my gorgeous neighbor who only spoke Spanish, then I might have changed my mind. It was another case of, “if I had only known then what I know now.”

I shyly glance up at Andres, hoping that he will say something more, but he doesn’t. He just stands there smiling. I am dying to know more about him, and although I am usually the shy one, I can’t imagine how he feels. I know that I am going to have to be the one to initiate the conversation.

I think back to my junior and senior years of high school. I try a little harder to remember specifics from Spanish class. At first, I draw a blank, then suddenly, out of nowhere, several key introductory phrases pop into my head.

¿De dónde eres?” I ask, excited to remember how to ask where he is from.

His smile grows wider, “You speak-a Spanish?” he asks in choppy English.

I smile sweetly and tell him that I, too, only speak “un poco.”

He laughs and says something I definitely don’t understand. He then follows with, “Soy de España, de Madrid.”

My earlier guess was right. He isn’t from around here, but boy am I excited to have him as my new neighbor.

He looks at me eagerly.

Another question pops in my head.

¿Dónde trabajas?” I ask, curious to see if my question about his current work situation would lead me to any more information.

His smile widens, and now I have a full view of his perfect white teeth. “En un restaurante, soy un cocinero,” he says proudly.

This conversation is getting difficult. I can’t think of what a “cocinero” is for the life of me, and he knows it too. He looks around anxiously.

Un momento, por favor,” he says as he rushes inside his apartment. There are several large clanks and then within a matter of seconds, he is back in the hall, a cooking pan in hand. He holds it out for me, and then points at himself once again. “Cocinero,” he says eagerly again, and this time I nod, now fully understanding what he has just said. He is a chef, and he works in a restaurant.

I rummage for something more to say, for another question or two, but my mind is blank. We are both eager to converse with one another, but since I can’t remember any more Spanish, we fumble through a few more questions and that’s all. It is a little awkward standing in the hallway in silence, but, luckily his phone rings and he excuses himself.

I am upset that I couldn’t remember more things to ask.

Hopefully, we’ll have better luck in the future.

My Book Review:

When Emily breaks up with her cheating ex-boyfriend David, she is brokenhearted and swears to never settle for another relationship that is anything less than perfect. As she picks up the pieces of her heart and life, she starts to regain her balance and self-confidence. Then along comes a sexy new neighbor named Andres, a Spanish chef, who sweeps her off her feet, and suddenly she starts to believe in love again. Just when Emily thinks she's found her Mr. Right, her oldest and best friend Steven confesses that he has been in love with her. What's a girl to do when she has two good guys to choose from? Can Emily make a choice that may risk a chance at love and also a friendship?

Love In Translation is a wonderful story about the dynamics that make up family, love and friendship relationships and finding true happiness. In her debut novel, author Sara Palacios weaves an entertaining tale written in the first person narrative, with Emily taking the reader along for the ride as she navigates the complicated paths of relationships.

This fast-paced story covers the variety of relationships that Emily is involved in, which sometimes has its complications: love relationships with her ex-boyfriend David, meeting her sexy new Spanish neighbor Andres, and her longtime friendship with Steven which also becomes a love interest when he confesses his love for her; friendship with Steven, Deana and Sophie; and the strained relationship with her mother, which I think happens in every Mother-Daughter relationship at one time or another (lol).

I loved how the author balances the storyline between the friendship and love relationships, while allowing Emily to follow her heart and take chances in life. From beginning to end, the reader can't help but get drawn into Emily's life and follow along on her journey as she discovers the beauty of love, friendship and happiness.

With a fun cast of characters who are realistic; quirky dialogue and interactions; and a storyline that has warmth and humor mixed in with a healthy dose of complicated relationship dynamics; Love In Translation 
is a sweet romantic story that will give the reader a warm and fuzzy feeling and leave a smile on their face!



  1. Replies
    1. Hi Samantha! Thank you for your kind comment and for the opportunity to host Sara's debut novel virtual book tour event.

  2. I had so much fun stopping by! Thank you so much for having me and for the wonderful review. Such a great stop on an amazing blog tour. Thank you, Kathleen!


    1. Hi Sara! Congrats on a wonderful debut novel! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)