October 24, 2016


 As we count down to Halloween and Day of the Dead this week,
The Latina Book Club will bring you some “dark and intriguing” books to stay up late with,   
including this debut novel by Elyse Reyes.   

Happy Reading.  And always, Read Latino!  

Hey Jude
Don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
              “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

This is an exciting and dramatic debut from new author Elyse Reyes.  Her young adult novel – ORDER OF VESPERS – is a coming of age novel about a teen with extraordinary powers who was unable to save her family from destruction. Now she must learn to harness her powers in order to save her world. Who is Jasper really? What is she? Why is she stuck going in circles in an inferno of her own? And why is the mysterious Order so interested in controlling her powers?

ORDER OF VESPERS is well-written with lots of intriguing twists that keep readers guessing and a smart mouth heroine who is as unpredictable and she is appealing. Reyes’ new legion of fans eagerly await book 2!

Book Summary:   Jasper Andrews is in over her head. God and the Devil have disappeared from Earth, leaving humanity without hope. Il Separatio, the Entity of Neutrality, tries to restore peace through the intervention of its children, the Order of Vespers. They are tasked with maintaining the balance between light and dark, ensuring that no faction becomes too powerful. They think Jasper is the key to harnessing the power of Il Separatio, protecting the Vespers and maintaining the balance.

Eighteen-year-old Jasper Andrews finds herself drawn into this superhuman world when a freak explosion exposes her to groups interested in secret abilities. When her family is killed under unbelievable circumstances, Jasper is the only suspect. She flees police custody and heads to New York City to lose herself in the crowds. Jasper wants revenge, but being chased by the police and superhuman bad guys, slows her down. While she’s in hiding Jasper becomes more volatile; she begins manifesting traces of her siblings’ abilities and begins to lose control. The Order of Vespers has decided she’s too dangerous and too important to leave unguarded and capture her. Before she can escape, the killers strike again, this time taking children directly connected to the Order. Jasper is forced to choose between her vendetta and the lives of the Vespers and humanity.

About the Author: Elyse Reyes grew up in the Bronx, NYC, lived in Los Angeles and now resides in south Florida. She has played every role possible in the non-profit world: environmental justice advocate, researcher, special education teacher, recruiter for an MPA program, program director for a lupus organization, and nonprofit consultant. She believes life is about having experiences that will make great stories. Twist her arm hard enough and she'll try just about anything once. As a writer, Elyse is obsessed with pithy dialogue and dry humor. She dabbles in different genres including: new adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, science fiction, bizarre, and non-fiction. Her major influences are diverse. Kevin Smith, Jon Stewart, Chris Hardwick, Jim Butcher, Karen Marie Moning, Christopher Moore, Brent Weeks, and Chuck Wendig are current favorites. Elyse loves chatting with her readers, so once you finish one of her novels, please leave a review, follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and drop her a line. Visit Elyse at http://www.elysereyes.com.


October 13, 2016


“He was using me as bait. And I was nobody’s bait. My mother had not crossed the Straits of Florida with a baby in her arms for me to become bait on dry land. I, Giselle Santos, was going to solve this mystery on my own.”—Gigi

Given that diamonds are hot right now -- Good luck, Kim! --, it seems fitting to review a book full of a girl's shiny and sparkling best friend, and we found the perfect one.

JEWELER’S MARK: A Love and Diamond Mystery by R.V. Reyes is a fun, breath-stealing, edge-of-your-seat page turner!

Miami. Murder. Mafia. Mayhem.

Giselle “Gigi” Santos is a sassy modern Latina working to make her family diamond company on par with Winston and Cartier.  She is also dateless for her 10th year high school reunion.  Enter sexy and brooding Detective Carlos Garcia; just what the doctor ordered, or was he?

Carlos in investigating a recent theft at Gigi’s jewelry store, but why does she feel like a suspect? Suddenly her whole week goes to pieces.

Monday: Carlos entered her life and made her point her loupe in his direction.

Tuesday: Gigi and her outspoken BFF Lou get into a tiff with Rosario “La Fea”, their high school nemesis and head of the reunion committee. That night Rosario is murdered.

Wednesday: Gigi and Lou are suspects. And worse yet, she learns someone is producing counterfeit copies of her best diamond rings.

Thursday: Gigi is so nervous she almost burns Carlos thinking he is a prowler.

Friday: She is attacked, and she still doesn’t have a date for the reunion!

Life gets more complicated and scary from there on, like something out of The Sopranos, but Russian.  And Carlos drives her crazy. He makes her feel everything from anger to lust to safety and back again. But Gigi is not a damsel in distress in need of rescuing….much. She decides to conduct her own investigation into the counterfeiters with Lou’s help – the deadly duo from La Caridad! – but it’s not fun when her brother is threatened and Lou is kidnapped. Suddenly, Gigi finds that she might need Carlos’ help after all.#

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  R.V. Reyes is the third generation to work in her family’s jewelry business. Before continuing the family legacy, she studied theatre at the University of New Mexico, worked in nonprofit, learned photography in Puerto Rico, and lived the poet’s life. She resides in Miami with a revolving cast of foster kittens, a delightfully snarky teenager, and an ever-patient husband. Connect with her at:


October 6, 2016


We at The Latina Book Club are intrigued by all things Mayan and Egyptian so we are happy to welcome an author who has combined both cultures in an exciting, dark and chilling series.  Welcome Raquel Zepeda Fitzgerald, a CEO turned writer, and author of The Osiris Trilogy Mystery Series.  And many thanks for her gift -- a free guidebook to the series; see below.  Meanwhile, here is the scoop on her trilogy and what she plans for Halloween!

Let’s start with a peek at the book trailer for Book Three in the series, OSIRIS 333. Click here.

Raquel Zepeda Fitzgerald
Q:  Tell us about your fascination with the Mayan and Egyptian cultures? What inspired your series? How do you conduct your research?
RAQUEL: As a child I was very interested in the Aztecs because my paternal grandmother was part Aztec. Then I saw that movie, The Mummy. The part that scared me the most was when they wrapped up the priest alive. It gave me nightmares. The first time I went to California, my cousins took me to the Egyptian Museum in San Jose. When I started writing THE EYE OF OSIRIS, I spent a lot of time researching occult studies like astrology and numerology. A lot of the ancient religions were based on astrology. As you know, the Egyptians, Aztecs, and Maya were great astronomers and based a lot of their beliefs on some form of astrology. My interest in the Maya is more recent. They actually have a closer likeness to Egyptology in my opinion. My fascination with these cultures is their use of symbology and rituals. I guess being born Catholic, you learn to embrace rituals and some symbology. Not to mention the belief in some force that can help you like magic. We all could use a little bit of magic. Like most people, I do my research online. Thank goodness for the internet!

Q: Please give us a summary of the books in the Osiris Trilogy Mystery Series.
RAQUEL:  Book One:  THE EYE OF OSIRIS.  Moriah Maizon, the main character, is a legal assistant working for an attorney who gets involved with the Rosicrucian Order. The Rosicrucian Order, who is deeply involved in Egyptology, spawned another group that called themselves The Eye of Osiris. When Moriah’s boss, Jim Patton, is murdered, she is arrested and accused of his murder. Lt. Mendoza, the detective assigned to the case eventually realizes that Moriah is innocent. An unlikely relationship develops between them especially when they learn of their common interests in Mexican culture. Although Moriah was born in California, her roots go back to Mexico when many Mexican-born French were being persecuted. When the bodies started piling up, Lt. Mendoza and all San Francisco hope it’s the work of a serial killer because the thought of a supernatural force committing executions is too unsettling. Finally, Lt. Mendoza states the question that plagues everyone's mind, "Is this the work of a supernatural power or super intelligent madman?"

Book Two: OSIRIS- THE SECOND COMING.  16 years after The Eye of Osiris murders, Moriah has a premonition through a dream about their return. While Luis Mendoza tries to assuage her fears, the cult is once again preying on the city of San Francisco. By then, Moriah has developed supernatural powers. Desperately searching for answers, Moriah asks for Gordy’s help (Mendoza’s grandfather in law). She knows his underground library holds secrets only known to the ancients. Suddenly Moriah is transported to an undersea world now inhabited by people once known as pharaohs. Moriah and her BFF Veronica race against time to get back from a mysterious underwater vortex. Ready to battle against the entities raging war against her and her family, Moriah must now unleash her great powers.

Book Three: OSIRIS 333.  Moriah and her clan find themselves in Mexico regrouping. There, they find a very unusual connection between the Egyptians and the Maya – a combined knowledge of alchemy. Until then, it had remained secret. Simultaneously, a Mayan book is unearthed containing hieroglyphics in both Maya and Egyptian, along with Greek text. Coined as the Rosetta Stone of Mesoamerica, the world at large awaits in awe. Knowledge is power. As the underground Temple of Osiris rumbles, the citizens of San Francisco are once again stunned. But it had to be done and Moriah was the only one up for the task.

Q:  What can we learn from these ancient societies?
RAQUEL:  We can learn that war can destroy a society in its entirety. There are many theories, but the one that rings true is war. With regard to the Aztecs, can you imagine losing your children to sacrifice? I believe the Aztec citizens were open to the Spaniards because they initially thought they would have a safer life with them.

Q:  Is the Mayan calendar dead or has it been reset?
RAQUEL:  Very funny! One thing I thought was fascinating about the way they count time was their reliance on the planet Venus. One of my hobbies is astrology. Here’s a good source: http://www.ancient-world-mysteries.com/mayan-calendar.html I don’t believe the Maya expected the world to end in 2012. There are still people who use that calendar in parts of Central America.

Q:  I read somewhere that a new pyramid was found off the coast of Brazil that is older than the ones in Egypt. Is this true? Which and where is the oldest pyramid?
RAQUEL:  Pyramids seem to popping up everywhere. This year, archaeologists discovered an Egyptian-style pyramid in Kazakhstan, a country located in Asia. Some claim it was built 1,000 years earlier than some Egyptian pyramids. The pyramids in Brazil appear to be more like mounds that were built by some Native Americans all over the U.S. Couldn’t find any good intel on this subject. Some claim they were built in 3000 BC which would still not outdate the Pyramid of Djoser. In Monte d’Accoddi, Italy, there is a mound or step pyramid believed to have been built between 4000–3650 BC. Around 2667–2648 BC the Pyramid of Djoser in Egypt was built, still believed to be the oldest pyramid.

Q:  Have to ask -- do you have a favorite pyramid and have you visited it? Do you have a favorite Mummy movie?
RAQUEL:  Sadly, I have never been to any pyramid. I do hope to visit the pyramids here in Mexico soon. My favorite is still “The Mummy” which was released in 1932.

Q:  What are you working on now that your Osiris Trilogy Mystery Series is over?
RAQUEL:  I have written other books and short stories while working on the Osiris Trilogy. For example, my short story “Buyer’s Remorse:” SNAPPED! Cindy didn't know what to do about Mark's dead, poisoned, and stabbed, bloody body. A $100,000 reward for Mark was announced that same evening on a crime TV show. Mark was wanted for fraud and murder. Cindy's best friends called to warn her. Now, they had to act fast! As they learned more, Mark had planned the perfect murder. Cindy had felt an intuition that Mark was about to end her life. It was a case of intuitional homicide! Would the cops buy it?  Watch the trailer by clicking here.

There is also my Bone Collection Trilogy. Book One, UNFINISHED BUSINESS, was inspired by true events!  It’s a tale of unadulterated greed, identity theft, piracy, betrayal, revenge, and getting the last laugh. Book Two, BODY CRAFT, delves into Hollywood’s secret love affair with beauty and the occult; leading to the craftiest avenues for weight-loss.  And Book Three, BONE GARDEN, reveals the thoughts of someone obsessed with their oral proclivities, secret desires, and “six-feet deep” secrets.

My next project is DEAD BOSS CEMETERY DOT COM! I’ve already written a few pages. This one should be lots of fun!

Q:  What writers do you read -- Latino and non-Latino?
RAQUEL:  I am very sensitive to racist issues regarding Hispanics/Latinos. Because of my physical appearance, I have had to listen to people’s tirades about how they hate us. And, of course, I have had a lot of arguments with sooo many people about it. My father has a very dark complexion and I know the crap he used to deal with. Anyway, when it comes to literature that entails stories about surviving racism, I cannot read them. I am way too emotional about it.

My favorite Latino authors include, Rick Riordan and Bettina Flores. Other authors I read are William Lashner, James Patterson, Steve Martini, Reed Arvin, Jonathan Kellerman, Lisa Scottoline, Greg Iles, Sandra Brown, John Dunning, Heather Graham. Jane Hitchcock, Linda Howard, John Lescroart and Barbara Parker.

Q:  What are you plans for Halloween?
RAQUEL:  I’m not really sure since I just moved to Cabo San Lucas. I hope to find a nice party to attend. If not, I can always dress up, watch a spooky movie and drink a bottle of wine!

Q:  How can fans reach you?
RAQUEL:  My fans can reach me numerous ways:


Get the free guidebook to The Osiris Trilogy Mystery Series by clicking here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Raquel Zepeda Fitzgerald has authored several books.  In 2005, she published her first edition of THE EYE OF OSIRIS.  In 2010, she published a second edition.  MY BONE COLLECTION, a collection of three short stories was published in 2011. A second edition of the My Bone Collection stories has been released as three separate books. In early 2013, “Buyer’s Remorse,” a short story about getting away with murder was released. During the autumn of 2013, Raquel published a sequel to The Eye of Osiris, Osiris - the Second Coming.  She has just published Osiris 333, which completes the Osiris Trilogy Mystery Series.  A guidebook for this series is available.  Up next is Dead Boss Cemetery Dot Com!  In addition to books, Raquel has also published a collection of greeting cards known as Think Blots, Shrink Blotz, and Luv Blots. 

Having held the position of CEO for many years, Raquel has also had a career in business and legal administration.  She currently works as a paralegal in the corporate securities industry. Visit her at www.raquelzepedafitzgerald.com.


October 4, 2016


Women who stepped up
Were measured as citizens
Of the nation, not as women…
This was a people’s war,
And everyone was in it.
---Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby
First Director of the Women’s Army Corps, WWII

Golden Foothills Press
This quote from more than 60 years ago is so apropos today.  Women have always had a role in wars, but usually behind the scenes in medical units or where they weren’t at risk of being captured.  But earlier this year, women were finally approved for combat duty, specifically in the infantry, which is why Victor Cass’ new novel seems to be pulled right from the headlines, and maybe a little prophetic too.

BLACK WIDOW BITCHES is a political thriller about the first all-female combat infantry unit of paratroopers; Not only soldiers but airborne soldiers!

Be warned! This is a big book—846 pages!—about terrorism and war.  It’s raw, horrific, with “blood-soaked” images of war. There are also race issues, gang issues, bullying, hazing, etc. Doesn’t matter that this book is about a female troop; we are talking war and nothing is pretty.

However, the female soldiers of BLACK WIDOW BITCHES are heroic. You have the Latina West Point grad; an African-American Chicago socialite; a mousy ultra-religious White girl; and a dirt-poor hick running away from an abusive dad.  This “fearsome foursome” is the heart of the book. Through them readers will see the transformation of wayward girls to women to warriors. And leading our Black Widow Bitches, is a conflicted and disgraced Latino officer, who agrees to save his career by training them. But he soon learns to value them for their dedication, their tenacity, and their stead-fast courage.

From sea to shining sea and all around the world, our Black Widows will fight and die for justice. The war on terrorism is on and these women are in it.

BLACK WIDOW BITCHES is a real page turner. HReaders will be thrilled with its fast-pace and the authenticity of the dialogue and setting. It helps a lot when the author is a military historian and a veteran police officer. This novel could be real; this could happen; may yet happen. And soon there may be Black Widow Bitches everywhere.  Amen to that!

BOOK SUMMARY:  The current “War on Terrorism” spirals out of control and engulfs much of the globe. Iconic cities and countries have been reduced to smoldering ruins of hopelessness across Europe and much of the free world, as brutal, rampaging terrorists unite across national, ethnic, and political lines to establish a Caliphate and crush millions of innocent resisters.

Opposed to a draft, the U.S. President asks each American family to send one volunteer to fight. A daring woman Army general, Jennifer Reed, proposes a bold move: training women for full-fledged combat in elite, all-women military units. Despite tremendous odds, her plan is grudgingly accepted, and the history-shattering 135th Airborne Division—the “Black Widows”—are born.

But will enough women volunteer? Can the Black Widows stand up to an enemy whose viciousness and brutality has no precedent? And, most important of all, who will train these women to become the hardened warriors they’ll need to be? No self-respecting man, since the rejection of women in combat runs deep in the American military culture.

A convicted criminal—court-martialed Captain Elias Marin, a decorated, airborne infantry war veteran who dared to disobey in battle—steps forward. Having no family and few options, he takes on the task to avoid the shame of imprisonment and to try to redeem himself. Full of doubts and with a history of PTSD-related anxiety attacks, the demoted Second Lieutenant Marin tackles the challenge of preparing the young women for combat…and winning their respect and trust, for they know he was plucked from prison because few other officers wanted to train them.

At once embodying and defying stereotypes, the volunteer women infantry are a motley bunch, who make us laugh, weep, and marvel as they step out of the civilian world and morph from various stages of ability and grit, to unforeseen levels of readiness. They come from all over America in answer to the President’s call. Prime among them are Marin’s “Fearsome Foursome”:

Araceli “Arcie” Martinez, from South El Monte, CA, a grieving Latina whose Marine brother was killed in the war; Janice Moore, a wealthy African-American from Chicago; Perle Floyd, a religious virgin from Spokane, WA; and Laura Smalls, a poor, white girl from Birmingham, AL, with a failed but doting father, and a very abusive romantic relationship. They battle themselves, their private demons, as well as the sexist soldiers who taunt them.

This grippingly realistic novel follows the “Fearsome Foursome” throughout their rigorous training, where Marin, fearless female leaders, and male officers who support their vision, struggle together against inevitable death, incredible odds, and disappointment. From their eventual baptism of fire to even deadlier combat, the women realize they are living on borrowed time. Above all, how will these women reconcile their sense of humanity with the barbarism and horror of war?

Check out this interview with the author, by clicking here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   Victor Cass is the author of the novels Love, Death, and Other War Stories (2005) and Telenovela (2009), which was a "Top 10 Best Reviewed Books" on Living La Vida Latina.com. He is also the author of the nonfiction book, Pasadena Police Department: A Photohistory, 1877-2000 (2001). His poetry has appeared in Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology 2015 and Spectrum 3 Anthology: Love Love Love. His stories, essays, and other nonfiction have appeared in Arroyo Monthly Magazine, Pasadena Weekly, Pasadena Star-News, If & When Literary Journal, Mexican War Journal, and other publications. He lives in Pasadena, CA. Though Victor has never served in the military, he holds a Master of Arts degree in Military History, with a specialty in Land Warfare, from the American Military University in Manassas, VA. He has researched military history as an avocation for over 30 years. Visit him at www.victorcass.com.


September 26, 2016


Grove Press

“You just want to go deep enough to arrive at that moment when your thoughts stop 
and all you feel is the water and your heartbeat.”

THE VEINS OF THE OCEAN is not a novel that is easy to put down or to forget once finished. Both a tragedy and a romance, Patricia Engel’s second novel stuns and warms the reader in equal measure.

From Florida to Cuba to Colombia, our heroine – and the reader! – are taken on a hard journey to solace and redemption. This is a deep novel with lots of under currents, and just like the swimmer who sheds her clothing in preparation of jumping into the water, so does our heroine shed her past and her guilt, and dives into the ocean to cleanse her soul and spring forth reborn and renewed.

SUMMARY:  For seven years, Reina Castillo visits her brother Carlito on death row for throwing his unfaithful girlfriend’s daughter off a bridge.  History had repeated itself, because the same thing had happened to Carlito when he was a child, but he lived. When her brother commits suicide after receiving a life sentence, Reina escapes to Florida hoping to forget and be forgotten. There she meets Nesto Cadena, a Cuban refugee who misses the children he left behind. Together the lovers learn to shed their guilt and find solace in the beauty and power of the ocean, and in each other.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Patricia Engel is the author of THE VEINS OF THE OCEAN, which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her other novels include, VIDA and IT’S NOT LOVE, IT’S JUST PARIS. Patricia’s novels have won numerous awards including the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, Best Book of the Year by NPR, Independent Publisher Book Award and International Latino Book Award.  Born to Colombian parents and raised in New Jersey, Patricia currently lives in Miami. Learn more about her at www.patriciaengel.com.