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Showing posts from July, 2013

REVIEW: BIRD OF PARADISE: HOW I BECAME A LATINA, A MEMOIR by Raquel Cepeda

Race is in the eye of the beholder.—Raquel Cepeda
It’s exhilarating to be alive in a time of awakening consciousness, it can also be confusing, disorienting, and painful.—Adrienne Rich



Raw and honest, brilliant and brutal. BIRD OF PARADISE is one woman’s daring journey to self discovery and family peace. The book is broken into two parts. The first part is the story of Raquel’s birth and upbringing by an abusive father and an indifferent stepmother. The abuse is excessive and cruel so readers beware. The second part of the book is heavy on DNA codes, but it is also full of new discoveries, new relatives, new connections. Part two is Raquel’s quest, her time traveling back in time through the DNA testing, to find the ancestral roots of her Latinidad.


BOOK SUMMARY: Raquel’s obsession over her racial ambiguity begins at a young age. Abandoned by her birth mother, she comes to belief that there is a fukku (a curse) on the women of her family who could never have a good relationship with t…

REVIEW: THE FIVE ACTS OF DIEGO LEON by Alex Espinoza

Delightful, intriguing, passionate.FIVE ACTS OF DIEGO LEON is beautifully written with wonderful narrative and a great hero.Sweeping from the villages of Mexico to California’s gold coast, this is a story about love, ambition, betrayal, and loyalty.It’s about fame and fortune and Hollywood.It’s about going after your dreams; about growing up and finding yourself.Readers will cheer for this hero on his quest to self-discovery and self-love.

Book Summary:Espinoza transports readers from war-torn Mexico to the glamour of Hollywood in 1927.Our Hero, Diego, grows up a poor boy amid the P’urhépacha Indians.His father sends him to his mother’s aristocratic family in the city so he can become someone better.His grandparents invent a new identity and background for him and groom him to take over the family business.Diego is torn between his past and his present.The only thing that helps him escape the pressure of his family and the question of his sexuality is the cinema.He is enthralled with t…

REVIEW: WHEN I AM SINGING TO YOU by Rebecca Burke

When I am singing to you, on earth all evil ends: as smooth as your forehead are the gulch and the bramble. ---“Serenity” a poem by Gabriela Mistral

WHEN I AM SINGING TO YOU—whose title comes from a poem by the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral—is a coming of age story about a poor Latina heroine. Carmen, is way too young at 13 to face all life throws at her – poverty, slave labor, abandonment, homelessness – but with courage, strength of character and loyalty, she navigates the tragedies of her life and comes out a winner. Carmen is a great character, and the main reason why this book won the 2012 Best Young Adult E-Book Award from the International Latino Book Awards, and was named one of the "16 Essential Latino Children's Books” by ¿Qué Más?, the blog for MamásLatinas, the leading bilingual online site for Hispanic moms.This book is well-written, heart-warming and quick to engage the Adult reader. NOTE: This novel is labeled a Young Adult novel, b…

Q&A WITH LILIBETH ANDRE

The Latina Book Club welcomes author Lilibeth Andre, an artist and a writer. Today, Lilibeth shares with us her fascination with the oral history of Mexico’s legends, and how they inspired her novel, THE LADY OF THE TURQUOISE PENDANT.



Q: For THE LADY OF THE TURQUOISE PENDANT, which came first the painting or the book idea?

A: The book idea came first. I originally wrote it as a short story. Then in 1999, I began to work on the book, and completed the manuscript in 2002. I created the painting in 2012. I decided to do portraits of the main characters, and that turned into a series of eight paintings to illustrate the book. At first, it was challenging to take characters I created with words and turn them into a 2D image. So I started, as I do with most things, with the hardest character first, the Jaguar Knight.


Q: What is the legend of the volcanoes? Was it always a love story? Are these legends recorded anywhere for the next generation?

A: The legend of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl is…

WRITERS WEDNESDAY WITH.... KATHLEEN ALCALA

The Latina Book Club's mission is to promote Latina / Latino authors, which we do through book reviews, author interviews, publicity announcements, book of the month selections, etc. A new feature we are adding is "Writers Wednesdays." The first Wednesday of each month we will feature a writer talking about .....writing.  Happy Reading!



SURROUNDED BY STORIES
by Kathleen Alcalá


I grew up in a home surrounded by stories. Mexican immigrants, my parents carried their family histories with them, shared among my mother’s brothers and sisters when the family got together.

My father was an only child, so we did not hear his stories as much. His extended family walked north from San Julian, Jalisco to take jobs with the Santa Fe Railroad during the Mexican Revolution. After that, some returned to Mexico, while others settled in California. The story seemed much like those of other immigrant stories. In fact, it was very much like the story told in RAIN OF GOLD, by Victor Villaseño…

BLOG TOUR: GOOD NIGHT CAPTAIN MAMA by Graciela Tiscareño-Sato

As we celebrate our Independence Day, it is only fitting that we celebrate our military and give them thanks for defending our families and our country.

The Latina Book Club would also like to thank Condor Book Tours for allowing us to be part of this historical blog tour for GOOD NIGHT CAPTAIN MAMA/ BUENAS NOCHES CAPITAN MAMA, the first bilingual –English and Spanish– children’s picture book that teaches young children why Mommies wear military uniforms.

Written by Graciela Tiscareño-Sato , a Latina veteran herself, this book is based on a conversation with her four year old son. Like the pajama-clad Marco in the story, her son was curious about his Mami’s flight uniform and what all the patches meant. GOOD NIGHT CAPTAIN MAMA, the first of a planned series, does a great job of simplifying the meaning of the patches, and giving children ages 3-8 a better understanding of the important role that their mothers play in today’s military.

Graciela Tiscareño-Sato was a navigator in the U.S.…

BOOK OF THE MONTH: THE FEAST OF SAN SEBASTIAN by Jonathan Marcantoni

For all the protest and rallies you’d think San Juan was on the brink of revolution. Revolution? We’re too scared for a real revolution….We’ll serve our fancy drinks and our music and our beaches and mountains, if you pay us we’ll put on a good show, and we’ll still bitch about all that’s fucked up that we refuse to actually change. –Ilan

We are not like the Americans, who only see the individual. God calls us to see mankind as a whole,
as a common people and this is how the Puerto Rican people see each other….
We remain. We fight for our voice to be heard, for our community to be strengthened
and for our people to triumph. – Adria




  The author had me at Puerto Rico.

THE FEAST OF SAN SEBASTIAN is a raw, gritty and frightening socio-political thriller set in Puerto Rico. It’s frightening because this story could really happen and may even be happening now. The Island may be a mecca for tourists, but its strategic position in the Caribbean and proximity to the U.S. has made it…