Author Spotlight / Review: Sweet Mary by Liz Balmaseda

Author Spotlight
Sweet Mary by Liz Balmaseda

This is a new post we'll be doing a few times a month featuring author book signings & readings. We feel extremely fortunate to have a wonderful, local bookstore called Books & Books only minutes away from us. If you're ever in the area of Miami, FL then you should definitely make it a point to stop in and browse their great selections. Hey, if you're lucky enough you may even be able to attend a book reading!

Books & Books Website

Isalys and I went down to Books & Books a few weeks ago to see one of our very own South Floridian writers speak about her new (and amazing!) novel, "Sweet Mary" by Liz Balmaseda. Liz is the kind of person who lights up the room when she walks in. Isa and I were both immediately attracted to her spunk and bright sense of humor! She draws you in with her sincerity and humility. She is loved by many, as was obvious by her book signing. There must have been over 200 people crammed into a little room! No seat was left vacant and people even lined the walls and spread out into the adjoining rooms. It truly was one of those "you had to be there" moments.

In this mesmerizing debut novel by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Liz Balmaseda, one woman's hunger for justice becomes a journey into darkness — and a punishing, soul-searching test of priorities.

Dulce Maria "Mary" Guevara is a woman with nothing left to lose. Wrongly accused of being a cocaine queen, she has lost her job, her reputation, and — worst of all — custody of her son. Even after the charges are dropped, suspicion lingers. Desperate to get it all back, she takes what she considers the only path open to her: She goes on a hunt for the real drug queen. Unfortunately, the one person she believes can help her is the last person she wants to see again: Joe Pratts, her ex-fiancé, a man whose connections to the drug world once ended their relationship.

Trying not to fall for Joe again is just the beginning of Mary's challenges, however. Her search leads her through the most deceiving of jungles: suburbia. There, she comes face-to-face with disturbing realities that challenge everything she thinks she knows about her formerly tranquil life. Mary's final dilemma hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

Sweet Mary is a gripping, heartwrec story with a noir soul and plenty of surprising twists — an assured debut from a writer with tremendous experience and talent.

Vanessa's Review:
The book was so incredible that I read it in one night. I bought the book the night of the book signing and finished it by 4:00 in the morning! Needless to say, I had to drink a sh*t load of coffee the next day at work, but boy was it worth it! Being a Floridian, specifically from Hialeah, I felt I was reading a book a close relative would have written. She made several references regarding South Florida life and its residents - it really hit close to home. At one point I even said, "I was just there!"

Not only did she make me laugh so hard that I cried, she also told an astonishing tale about a woman wrongly accused of drug dealing and all the heartache and drama that you'd imagine would go along with it (the drug dealing and false accusations obviously weren't the funny part). Liz definitely has a way with words.

♥ Vanessa

Here are some pics from this wonderful event!

And last, but certainly not least...Liz Balmaseda!


  1. I recently received a galley of this book from Atria, and now cannot wait to read it! Thank you for the great review.

  2. Thanks! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)
    Let me know when you read it so I can check out your review!


  3. Sounds like a great book! I may just have to add it to my wish list...


Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs The Artists' Faeries Lovely Papers by Lorie Davison