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Showing posts from July, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: LADY Q: THE RISE AND FALL OF A LATIN QUEEN

LADY Q: THE RISE AND FALL OF A LATIN QUEEN
By Reymundo Sanchez and Sonia Rodriguez
Chicago Review Press
July 2008



The closest I have ever gotten to a gang was reading DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS by Piri Thomas. Though I am a New York Rican, I thank God and my mother that my sisters and I never had to deal with abuse, violence, drugs or gang warfare. We were very lucky. Lady Q was not.

LADY Q is a haunting and disturbing book. It is too vivid, too violent…too real. When most people think about gangs, they think boys, men. They never think about female gang members, but there are plenty.

Sonia Rodriguez – her real name has been changed to protect her, her children and grandbabies – grew up unloved and abused. Drugs, violence and gangs were the norm in her house. The frequent police raids at home seemed like a game to her as a child. Sonia looked for love and support from her mother and family; not finding it, she “crashed onto the streets and into gangs” in Chicago.

Sonia was abused and ra…

BOOK REVIEW: SISTERS, STRANGERS, AND STARTING OVER

SISTERS, STRANGERS, AND STARTING OVER
A Quinceañera Club Novel
By Belinda Acosta
Grand Central Publishing



In the U.S., the big thing for teenage girls is their Sweet 16. For a Latina teen, it’s her Quinceañero or Sweet 15. Since my cousin Betsy and I are 15 days apart (she’s older and I never let her forget it!), and since she lived in Puerto Rico and I lived in New York (we still do), she got the Quinceañero and I got the Sweet 16. They were both great gatherings full of family and friends, and we both made out well in the presents department. But even though the party is all about the girl turning into a woman, there already is a woman in the picture – the Mami, the Mother of the birthday girl.

Mothers bring you into this world. The good ones nurture you, mentor you, nag you…I mean…encourage you. Of course, the mother-daughter relationship is a hazardous one full of live mines, but what happens when a girl doesn’t have a mother, when all she has is an aunt she’s hardly heard of and …

Q&A WITH AUTHOR ... M.PADILLA

Writing should feel like it’s the most important thing in the world to you.                                             M.Padilla


THE GIRLS FROM THE REVOLUTIONARY CANTINA
by M.Padilla
Thomas Dunne Books
http://www.mikempadilla.com/




Q:  How did you get the idea for the book? Who did you base the story on?

When I was a kid growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I used to look forward to whenever my Spanish-speaking relatives from Los Angeles and Mexico would come to visit. I have particularly fond memories of the women. They were incredibly funny, and they brought a kind of life and energy to our household that was so different from what I was used to. Their voices really are a big part of THE GIRLS FROM THE REVOLUTIONARY CANTINA.

Another inspiration comes from a fascination I have about friendships and how they begin, evolve, and sometimes die. The challenges they can sometimes pose, especially as people change and come to want and need different things, are far more interesting to me …

BEST OF L.A.'s BEST BEACH READ

CONGRATULATIONS TO AUTHOR MARGO CANDELA!! 


Her novel, GOOD-BYE TO ALL THAT, has just been selected by Los Angeles Magazine as the "Best Beach Read" for it's Best of L.A. issue, on newsstands through August. It's the ONLY BOOK to have garnered that distinction this year. Los Angeles magazine called GOOD-BYE TO ALL THAT "witty," "breezy" and "tantalizing."

The book is available at Borders and Barnes & Noble stores nationwide, and at Amazon.com.

To learn more about Margo, please visit her website at:   http://www.margocandela.com/

For The Latina Book Club's own Summer Reading List, click here.

Happy Summer.  Happy Reading.

READ LATINO.  --mcf

BOOK REVIEW: TRY TO REMEMBER BY IRIS GOMEZ

Grand Central Publishing
Young Adult



Don’t let the Young Adult label fool you. This is a book for adults as well, especially those adults that are first generation children. I am a first generation child. My mother came to the US from Puerto Rico in 1958. She spoke no English, had not finished high school (education for females was considered unnecessary) and knew about two people who lived in New York. But she came looking for the American Dream.

I remember as a child being acting as translator for her with doctors and teachers. I can still recall the frustration on her face when she couldn’t express herself even with my help. One day she just turned off the Spanish radio and changed our TV from a telenovela to some sort of western. (Who doesn’t love John Wayne?!) That was the turning point in our lives. She was determined to learn English and to give us a better chance at life, and so she did. My mom graduated from Brooklyn College and became a Social Worker with the City of New Yor…

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: THE GIRLS FROM THE REVOLUTIONARY CANTINA

By M.Padilla
Thomas Dunne Book
St. Martin’s Griffin


I actually have three best friends and, unlike the “Girls at the Revolutionary Cantina,” we are separated by distance. Tania lives in California, Anne lives in Pennsylvania, while Joanna resides in Puerto Rico. Our friendship thrives thanks to Ma Bell and the internet. I only see them (separately) about once a year, but we make that one visit count!

The “Girls at the Revolutionary Cantina” are together constantly, which can be good and bad.  Here’s my review of this wonderful debut novel:



Padilla’s debut novel is funny, poignant, absorbing and hysterical. It’s about friendship, lovers, careers, self discovery, murder and Hollywood. Readers will laugh, cry and gasp at the shenanigans of these senoritas. Padilla does a great job at creating believable, likeable characters with witty dialogue and larger-than-life situations.

SUMMARY: Nothing rips apart a long-standing friendship faster than a man. Julia Juarez and Ime Benevides have bee…

SPAIN WINS WORLD CUP!!

Congratulations to Team Espana for winning the 2010 World Cup!
It was a great game.  I love when they go into overtime and you are on the edge of your seat -- literally! -- and suddenly one kick has you jumping and dancing in mid air.
Now all we need is for Nadal to win the US Open next month.  :p

BOOK REVIEW: THE DREAMER by Pam Munoz Ryan

Adults will love this young adult book too. It’s a fictionalized account of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s childhood. Munoz Ryan has a beautiful, whimsical, lyrical style that enchants and entrances the reader immediately. And, the illustrations by Peter Sis are brilliant and magical and happily make Munoz Ryan’s words dance and spin off the page into reader’s hearts.


A LITTLE BACKGROUND: Munoz Ryan went on vacation to Chile and happened to visit Pablo Neruda’s house. She was back in the states at a book signing when a fellow author told her a story about how Neruda always carried a little sheep, which was given to him by a secret friend across his backyard fence. Neruda had that sheep for a long time until he lost it in a fire, and thereafter, wherever he went, he would look in shops and toy stores for another little sheep just like it. That story so intrigued Munoz Ryan that she began researching Neruda’s childhood and soon the idea for THE DREAMER took hold. Observant readers will noti…