Sunday, October 10, 2010

Review: Houston, We Have a Problema

Houston, We Have a Problema
Gwendolyn Zepeda

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Release Date: January 2009

Publisher: Central Publishing

Pages: 400

Author Site:

My Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Won from giveaway at Drey's Library


Jessica Luna is your typical 26 year old: she has man trouble, mom trouble, and not a clue what to do with her life (though everyone else in her family seems to have plenty of suggestions!) After a lifetime of being babied by her family, Jess is incapable of trusting herself to make the right choices. So instead, she bases all of her life decisions on signs. She looks to everything for guidance, from the direction her rearview-mirror-Virgin-de-Guadalupe sways to whatever Madame Hortensia, her psychic, sees in the cards.

When her sort-of boyfriend Guillermo, a gifted unmotivated artist, disappoints her again, Jessica thinks it's time to call it quits. Just to be sure, she checks in with Madame Hortensia who confirms that yes, it is time for a change. (Who knew $20 could buy so much security!) Right on cue, Jess meets Jonathan; he's the complete opposite of Guillermo--of all Jess's boyfriends, in fact. He's successful, has a stable job....and is white. Jess isn't sure if Jonathan is really the change Madame Hortensia saw. Sure he gives great career advice, but is he advising her on a career she actually wants? And yes he's all about commitment, but is it Jess or her mother who really wants marriage?

Jess runs back to Madame Hortensia for advice, but even she is out of answers. Now there's only one thing that's certain: no one--not her mother, her sister, her boyfriend or her psychic--can tell her what to do. For better or for worse, Jess will have to take the plunge and make her own decisions if she wants to have any future at all.


Jessica Luna, like many women, is having a number of problems in her life. Should she keep giving her sexy artist lover, (but still not boyfriend!) Guillermo more chances? Should she just give up since he keeps letting her down? Should she move on to something better – maybe in the opposite direction in the form of a successful, good looking, stable white man? Should she stay with her current insurance job that she is really great at but is totally monotonous? Or maybe take a risk and do something she loves – like web design? Should she finally tell her family to stop bugging her about marriage?

So many questions, so many different paths to take; Jessica just can’t figure out what to do. She relies heavily on her physic, Madame Hortensia, for advice. It can even be said that she can’t make a decision without Madame Hortensia’s advice… But Jess just doesn’t want to make the wrong choices in life. She wants to be happy with the right man, the right job, and have a good relationship with her family. What woman doesn’t want that?

I liked Jessica a lot as a character however I still had some serious issues with her. She second guesses herself a lot! She also has a constant need for signs and advice to guide the decisions she makes. And while that is totally understandable it got somewhat annoying. I wanted to shake the poor girl and say “Just do the damn thing and see what happens!” But I’m happy to say that Jessica’s character does mature and grow as she figures things out for her life. It actually made me smile and feel proud of her!

I can definitely see the book resonating with a lot of readers. I know pretty much everyone wishes they knew which paths to take in life. I know I’ve always wanted some sort of map or guide to point me in the right direction. But the truth is we can’t control or know everything. Sometimes we have to make bad decisions in order to get where we need to go. Mistakes help us learn not to do them again and help us determine the things in life that should be important. I know it takes some of us two or three (or even more!) than one mistake to get things right but at the end of the day that’s alright!

This was a quick, easy, and enjoyable read for me. The writing style flowed nicely and the novel itself had funny, relatable characters dealing with real life issues. Family dynamics and drama, career issues, and man trouble…sounds like the life of a lot of us out there! I’d definitely read more by this author and recommend giving this book a try for a fun read!


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