September 19, 2019

DAUGHTERS OF THE STONE BY DAHLMA LLANOS-FIGUEROA



The Latina Book Club celebrates LATINX HERITAGE MONTH every day.
To honor authors during this celebratory month, we will highlight a new book every day.
Join us and #ReadLatinoLit.



Ingram Spark
DAUGHTERS OF THE STONE
By Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa


Vibrant. Lyrical. Powerful.  DAUGHTERS OF THE STONE follows five generations of Puerto Rican women on their 
physical and spiritual journey from the Old World to the New.


SUMMARY:   It is the mid-1800s. Fela, taken from Africa, is working at her second sugar plantation in colonial Puerto Rico, where her mistress is only too happy to benefit from her impressive embroidery skills. But Fela has a secret. Before she and her husband were separated and sold into slavery, they performed a tribal ceremony in which they poured the essence of their unborn child into a very special stone. Fela keeps the stone with her, waiting for the chance to finish what she started. When the plantation owner approaches her, Fela sees a better opportunity for her child, and allows the man to act out his desire. Such is the beginning of a line of daughters connected by their intense love for one another, and the stories of a lost land.
Mati, a powerful healer and noted craftswoman, is grounded in a life that is disappearing in a quickly changing world.
Concha, unsure of her place, doesn't realize the price she will pay for rejecting her past.
Elena, modern and educated, tries to navigate between two cultures, moving to New York, where she struggles to keep her family together.
Carisa turns to the past for wisdom and strength when her life in New York falls apart.
The stone becomes meaningful to each of the women, pulling them through times of crisis. Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa shows great skill and warmth in the telling of this heartbreaking, inspirational story about mothers and daughters, and the ways in which they hurt and save one another.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. She is a product of the Puerto Rican communities on the island and in the South Bronx. She attended the New York City public school system and received her academic degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo and Queens College-City University of New York. As a child she was sent to live with her grandparents in Puerto Rico where she was introduced to the culture of rural Puerto Rico, including the storytelling that came naturally to the women in her family, especially the older women. Much of her work is based on her experiences during this time. Dahlma taught creative writing and language and literature in the New York City public school system before becoming a young-adult librarian. She has also taught creative writing to teenagers, adults, and senior citizens throughout New York while honing her own skills as a fiction writer and memoirist. 

The 2009 hardcover edition of DAUGHTERS OF THE STONE was listed as a 2010 Finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize.  In February, 2019 Dahlma self-published the trade paperback edition of Daughters of the StonE which is being distributed by IngramSpark. Her short stories appear in the following anthologies: Bronx Memoir ProjectLatina Authors and Their MusesChicken Soup for the Latino SoulBreaking Ground: Anthology of Puerto Rican Women Writers in New York 1980 - 2012, and Growing Up Girl. Dahlma's work also appears in various literary magazines such as the Afro-Hispanic Review and Kweli Journal. Dahlma's Literary Agent, Marie Dutton Brown, is currently seeking a home for Dahlma's second novelA Woman of Endurance.  Since her retirement, Dahlma continues to dedicate herself to her writing, speaking engagements, and workshops. She resides in the Bronx with her husband, photographer Jonathan Lessuck.  Visit her at https://www.dahlmallanosfigueroa.com/.




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September 18, 2019

DOMINICANA BY ANGIE CRUZ


The Latina Book Club celebrates LATINX HERITAGE MONTH every day.
But to honor Latino / Latinx authors during this celebratory month, we will highlight a new book and author every day.
Join us and #ReadLatinoLit.




Flatiron Books
DOMINICANA
by Angie Cruz


SUMMARY:  Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.
As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.
In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz's DOMINICANA is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.


Check out DOMINICANA’s Playlist by clicking here.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   Angie Cruz is a New York born DOMINICANA, the author of two novels, SOLEDAD (2001) and LET IT RAIN COFFEE (2005). She is the editor of Aster(ix), a literary/arts journal, and her work has appeared in journals including Gulf Coast, Kweli, NYTimes, Callaloo, and VQR. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her novel, DOMINICANA, is forthcoming with Flatiron Books, Fall 2019.




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September 17, 2019

THIS AMERICAN AUTOPSY: POEMS BY JOSE ANTONIO RODRIGUEZ


The Latina Book Club celebrates LATINX HERITAGE MONTH every day.
To honor Latino / Latinx authors during this celebratory month, we will highlight a new book and author every day.
Join us and #ReadLatinoLit.





University of Oklahoma Press
THIS AMERICAN AUTOPSY: POEMS
By Josè Antonio Rodríguez



SUMMARY:  In this powerful collection of free-verse poetry, immigrant, poet, and memoirist José Antonio Rodríguez encapsulates the experiences of an artist and citizen caught between two worlds. At once deeply personal and thematically expansive, these works offer a bracing look at the darker impulses of contemporary America.

Saturated with allusions to family, immigration, sexuality, and violence, This American Autopsy is also an unsettling meditation on life and death. With its provocative title, the collection calls to mind an image of our nation as a body awaiting examination to determine the cause of death. In this scenario the poet vacillates between various roles: coroner, pathologist, and the body itself.

Some of the poems in this collection look to the past: events such as the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion or the author’s first trip to an American grocery store. Others muse on more recent tragedies, including the racial violence in Ferguson, Missouri, and the illicit drug trade. A few of the poems are written in Spanish, and the volume concludes with two English translations of these poems, which the author originally wrote in his native language.


Even as he paints a vivid picture of American diversity, Rodriguez exposes the deterioration of our nation—broken promises, failed prosperity, the shattering of dreams. Intimate and urgent, these timely dispatches from the Texas-Mexico border reveal the tensions and contradictions of today’s America.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   José Antonio Rodríguez, Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley, is the author of House Built on Ashes: A MemoirThe Shallow End of Sleep, and Backlit Hour. Visit him at www.jarodriguez.org.




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September 16, 2019

UNBROKEN BY DR. EGLI COLON STEPHENS & NATALIA HARRIS


The Latina Book Club celebrates LATINX HERITAGE MONTH every day.
To honor Latino / Latinx authors during this celebratory month, we will highlight a new book and author every day.
Join us and #ReadLatinoLit.




Kindle Direct Publishing
UNBROKEN: A Mother-Daughter Journey of Resilience, Faith and Courage
By Dr. Egli Colón Stephens and 
professional model Natalia Harris



Egli and Natalia are personal friends. They have been working hard and diligently on this book for a few years.  We are so happy that their dream has come True! The book is done and being shared with all.  Natalia is healthy and featured in Delta’s newest ad campaign, and Egli is following her daughter into modeling.

This dynamic duo will be appearing at the New York’s National Opera Center on Friday, September 20, at 7:30pm.  It’s a Free Book Launch Party.  All are welcome.  Visit them at www.eglicolonstephens.com.




SUMMARY:  UNBROKEN is a hope-filled story of a mother and a daughter, and their unwavering grip for life; reminding us that the human spirit is unbreakable. Grounded in their faith, together they battle a life-threatening disease that would forever change the course of their lives. In this chronicle you will hear these warriors’ roar, holding on to life and God's promises. Dr. Egli Colón Stephens digs into memory weaving stories of her cultura, familia, and tradiciones that armed her with the tools to survive the challenges of life. Instinctually, she began to write about the journey God had brought her from, and a decade later, here it is. Like life, which is not linear, this story takes many shifts and unexpected turns. Facing the biggest challenge to date, through her daughter’s life challenge, Egli learns what it means to be courageous, resilient and relentless while leaning on her community for prayers.

Their story has over 53,000 views on Telemundo and over 32,000 visits on their CaringBridge blog. In 2015, Egli had her article published on NBC News, and Natalia Harris has been featured on the NY Daily News, The Morning Show in Australia, The Sun in UK, Mirror, UK, Vivala, ABC News, DNAinfo, Refinery29, Women’s Health, Us Weekly and Vogue.



Photo Credit by photobyayala


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Egli Colón Stephens, Ed.D.  has been an inner-city educator for about twenty years and currently teaches Sociology at Bronx Community College and Dominican History at Borough of Manhattan Community College, in New York. Dr. Colón Stephens is a New York State Certified teacher. She obtained a Doctorate Degree in Urban Education from the Graduate Theological Foundation. She holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Multicultural Education from the College of Mount St. Vincent where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a cumulative 4.0 GPA and a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management from St. Francis College. She is also a Certified Holistic Life Coach, a consultant and a professional lifestyle model represented by STATE management.  Dr. Colón Stephens has been a distinguished human rights guest speaker at many institutions, including the United Nations, Fordham University, and Universidad Panamericana de Aguas Calientes in Mexico.


Natalia Harris is a professional model, cancer survivor and body positive image activist. She was born and raised in New York, and her family is from the Dominican Republic and Barbados. Ms. Harris earned an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Santa Monica College and is currently completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. She has been featured in Women’s Health Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Morning Show in Australia, Telemundo’s Un Nuevo Día, Refinery 29. She has been featured in a campaign for fashion brand Six 02 by Foot Locker displayed across a Times Square billboard. She is one of the faces for an ad by Delta Airlines and has modeled for global makeup brand Laura Mercier.  Natalia Harris is determined and crystal clear about spreading a message of hope to the world. Although she loves fashion and modeling, her life’s purpose is to use it as a platform to heal humanity.  


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September 15, 2019

LATINX HERITAGE MONTH CELEBRATION BEGINS WITH CONEY ISLAND SIREN BY THERESA VARELA


The Latina Book Club celebrates LATINX HERITAGE MONTH every day.
To honor Latino / Latinx authors during this celebratory month, we will highlight a new book and author every day.
Join us and #ReadLatinoLit.




Pollen Press Publishing
CONEY ISLAND SIREN
By Theresa Varela



SUMMARY:   Call it coincidence or call it fate when Maggie Fuentes, rummaging through a Coney Island flea market, stumbles upon a a handwritten diary whose author, a young girl of the nineteenth century names Ellen, reveals dreadful secrets that parallel Maggie's own. Maggie sinks deep into the sinister maelstrom of her lover, Police Officer Frank Ramirez, until the stark urgency of lines written by a kindred spirit compel her to confront the reality of her- and their- lives. Far removed from each other in time but bonded by the white-capped ocean, amusement park locale, and converging torments, it seems particularly apt that the sleight-of-hand landscape of luck and chance provides the setting for Maggie's harrowing and hypnotic encounter with turmoil, then kismet, and ultimately, clarity and reawakening.

Read our review by clicking here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   Award winning Puerto Rican author, Theresa Varela, was born and raised in Brooklyn, NYC. She is the recipient of International Latino Book Awards for Covering the Sun with My Hand in 2015 and Nights of Indigo Blue: A Daisy Muñiz Mystery in 2016. Dr. Varela holds a PhD in Nursing Research and Theory Development and currently works with the mentally ill homeless population in NYC. She is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses; a member of Las Comadres para las Americas and is on the Advisory Board of the Latina 50 Plus program. She is Co-Founder of La Pluma y La Tinta- a Writer's Workshop. Her blog LatinaLibations on Writing and All Things of the Spirit can be found at theresavarela.com.



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