December 29, 2014

BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014

 
The Latina Book Club is proud to announce its 2nd Annual Books of the Year list.

Our list contains some memoirs, some fiction, some children's books, some collections of poems and more.  Most of the books on our list are written by Latino authors, the ones that are not contain Latino characters of worthy note--all are fun reads. 

The Latina Book Club wishes you Happy Reading and a Happy New Year! ---mcf



BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014
(in alphabetical order by title)


A CUP OF WATER UNDER MY BED by Daisy Hernandez

CHASING THE SUN by Natalia Sylvester

CHOPPER! CHOPPER! POETRY FROM BORDERED LIVES by Verónica Reyes

DESEO DE UNA NOCHE by Alonso Cueto (Spanish)

DLEE'S WORLD by Diana Lee Santamaria

EVERY HIDDEN FEAR by Linda Rodriguez

HANDBOOK FOR AN UNPREDICTABLE LIFE: HOW I SURVIVED SISTER RENATA AND MY CRAZY MOTHER AND STILL CAME OUT SMILING (WITH GREAT HAIR) by Rosie Perez

HUNTING SEASON: IMMIGRATION AND MURDER IN AN ALL-AMERICAN TOWN by Mirta Ojito

JENNI RIVERA: LA DIVA DE LA BANDA by Michael Puente (Spanish)

LA BELLE CREOLE: THE CUBAN COUNTESS by Alina Garcia-LaPuerta

LAND OF CAREFUL SHADOWS by Suzanne Chazin

LOTERIA by Mario Alberto Zambrano

MARTINA FINDS A SHINY COIN by Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor

MI ISLA BONITA by Franchesca Guzman (Spanish)

NIŇO WRESTLES THE WORLD by Yuyi Morales (Spanish)

NUNO by Carlos Alemán

PINNED UP by C.Michelle

PINNED DOWN by C.Michelle

RIPPER by Isabel Allende

RISING, FALLING, ALL OF US by Thelma T. Reyna

RITA MORENO: A MEMOIR by Rita Moreno

SHATTERED PARADISE by Ileana Araguti

TAKE THIS MAN by Brando Skyhorse

THE AMADO WOMEN by Desiree Zamorano

THE CITY OF PALACES by Michael Nava

THE CLOSER by Mariano Rivera

THE CYCLE OF THE SEVEN DAYS OF THE WEEK by Genia I. Nunez

THE PACIENT (EL PACIENTE) by Juan Gomez-Jurado (Spanish)

THE REVOLUTION OF EVELYN SERRANO by Sonia Manzano

THE SECOND SIGN by Elizabeth Arroyo

UNBREAKABLE by Kami Garcia

VALENTINA GOLDMAN'S IMMACULATE CONFUSION by Marisol Murano

WHEN ANGELS FALL by Manuel A. Meléndez

WOMEN ARE LIKE CHICKENS by Annette Sandoval

YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS by Meg Medina
 
 
Happy Reading!


PS -- For our Books of the Year 2013, click here.###
 
 

December 23, 2014

COVER REVEALS OF PINNED UP TRILOGY BY C.MICHELLE

  
 
I enjoy being a pin-up model as a side gig.  I love to indulge myself in wearing kick ass wiggle dresses, bustiers, and some awesome “fuck me shoes.”  What can I say; sometimes I have over the top girly moments. ---Nina
 
 
Available Now!
C.Michelle has given her fans a great Christmas present....book two of her sexy Pinned Up trilogy, PINNED DOWN.  We get more Nina, more Josh and more Kade.  Readers: be prepared for more sex, more twists, more of everything.  These relationships and friendships will never be the same!
 
And, I don't know about you but I hate waiting a full year for the next book in any series.  Luckily, we won't have to here.  PIN ME, the third and final book in the trilogy will be out on March 17, 2015.  That's St. Patrick's day so I'm planning a beer and reading fest.  Everyone is invited!
 
Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! --mcf
 
 
Read our review of PINNED UP by clicking here.
 
 
Coming 3/17/15!
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  C.Michelle was a high school drop-out who eventually earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree and a Master of Business Administration degree, while working as a probation officer and counselor. She serves as a Victim Awareness Program instructor and an Aggression Replacement Training (ART) facilitator in her community.  She lives in California with her family.  Visit her at http://cmichelle.com.
 
Mark your Calendar!  Join C.Michelle on February 13, 2015, at the Love & Fifth Author event in Sacramento, CA, starting at 6pm.  There will be readings, signings and a group viewing of "Fifty Shades of Grey" the movie at a local theatre. Tickets available on Eventbrite. 
 
 

December 8, 2014

REVIEW: LAND OF CAREFUL SHADOWS by Suzanne Chazin

  
   
   
"Maybe it was necessary, this shedding of the old ways with each generation. He had abandoned so much of what defined his mother...But lately, he'd begun to wonder if he'd abandoned too much.  He felt like there was a box inside of him that had been locked away for so long, he'd forgotten where he'd put the key.  There were things he treasured in that box: the sultry music of his childhood, the playfulness and sensuality of his culture.  He longed to open himself up to these things again." --Jimmy Vega




The Latina Book Club is happy to promote books by non-Latinos with great Latino characters.  LAND OF CAREFUL SHADOWS by Suzanne Chazin is such a book.   The premise for this book could have been “ripped from today’s headlines.” 

It’s riveting, suspenseful, tragic, hopeful, with realistic settings, authentic voices, continuous action and enough twists and turns to keep readers up all night.  (I was!)

SUMMARY:   Jimmy Vega is a juicy, complex character, estranged from his culture with serious displacement issues.  He’s a homicide detective navigating the world of undocumented immigrants—not illegal —in suburban New York, and often times he is in over his head.   

It all starts with the murder of a female undocumented immigrant.  Why her?  Where is her missing child?  Is the murder connected to the escalating hate crimes around town?  Detective Vega has to find answers and fast before a clash of cultures; before mistrust and bigotry rear their ugly heads more than they have already.  But the answers will surprise everyone—himself most of all—and change a town forever.

 Readers will find that Ms. Chazin has done an excellent job of bringing the undocumented populace to life in THE LAND OF CAREFUL SHADOWS.  They are “real” people—with names and dreams, courage and quiet determination.  There’s Caesar who brought his children so they could live a better life; Kenny who’s been awarded a college scholarship but may not be able to go due to his immigration status; Rodrigo who longs for his wife and children but is stuck in a strange hard land until he can raise enough money to go home; there’s Adele a daughter of an immigrant who graduated from Harvard and runs the town’s immigration center; and so on. 

Readers will empathize with these characters, and hopefully with the real undocumented immigrants across the U.S.  And maybe, just maybe, our country’s new immigration policy will be more accurate and more humane.

LAND OF CAREFUL SHADOWS is the first book in a planned trilogy about undocumented immigrants in suburbia and a jaded Detective determined to protect and serve.  Book 2, A BLOSSOM OF BRIGHT LIGHT, will be released in Fall 2015.  Chazin hopes to raise greater awareness through these books about the issues the undocumented face in the U.S.  The Latina Book Club wishes her luck, and looks forward to the series and seeing Detective Jimmy Vega in action again.###


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   Suzanne Chazin is the daughter of Russian immigrants.  She has published three mystery novels about the New York City Fire Department, inspired by her husband, a high-ranking FDNY chief.  LAND OF CAREFUL SHADOWS is her first novel in 11 years.  To learn more about this author and her books, please visit her at www.suzannechazin.com.




December 3, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH YADHIRA GONZALEZ-TAYLOR

 
The Latina Book Club is pleased to welcome children's author Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor.  Yadhira is a Native New Yorker, born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents. She served in the US Army Reserves, was an Assistant District Attorney, and is now an adjunct professor at a community college.  She was inspired to become a writer by her three daughters and her parent's homeland, Borinquen bella.



Q:  Yadhira, you are a lawyer by day and an author by night.  What attracted you to writing? Why children’s books?

There is a great deal of writing that takes place in a lawyer’s working life. However, the writing is often dry and lacks passion depending on the area of law practiced. Lawyers write legal memoranda, briefs for appeals, complaints, and more. These writings are serious in nature and leave very little room for creativity.  Legal writing has been part of my daily professional life since 2002. Reading documents also forms a large part of my day to day work experience.

I dabbled in creative writing as a child but never thought of myself as someone who could write a book for sale or distribution. Most of my writing, until two years ago, consisted of self-reflective writing like journaling and poetry that I shared on social media.The idea for the children’s books came as a result of being a parent. I read to all my children at bed time and sometimes I would recite folktales.

About two years ago, my youngest, was very interested in old folktales.  At first, I used to tell the usual ones like THE THREE BEARS, THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, and other Grimm tales. Then my husband suggested that I find something a little closer to our culture.  I immediately thought of la Cucarachita Martina who was a staple character in my household growing up. My grandmother used to tell me the story often. So I started reciting it to my daughter as I remembered it. Before we knew it we had adapted it with our own version, with new details and a different ending.

I tried the traditional publishing route but no one was interested in publishing. I self-published the first title, MARTINA FINDS A SHINY COIN, in July of 2013. Soon thereafter my daughter and I found ourselves inventing other stories for Martina, which lead to MARTINA AND THE WONDROUS WATERFALL. Currently, there are several other stories working their way out of the confines of our imaginations.


Q:  Do you write in Spanish and then translate into English or vice versa?  Do you write in both languages?

I think in Spanish, I write in English, and translate to Spanish. I was born in New York City and went to live in Puerto Rico when I was five. Spanish is my first language, but my English language skills are stronger. I translate my work into Spanish and then use the assistance of hired editors to double check all those nuances, conjugations, and accents that come with the Spanish language.


Q:  Tell us about Martina.  What kind of stories should we expect to see in the series?

Oh, Martina! I love Martina. I feel like I gave birth to a fourth daughter. The illustrator, Alba Escayo, and I hold the cute and clean little roach dear and near to our hearts. Martina is humble yet proud. She is flexible, yet stubborn, and beautiful in a simple way. She is smart, talented, and musically gifted. She is a complete package.

Both stories deliver a lesson in a fun and entertaining way. The stories teach values and character. The fables mirror our human existence, our jealousies, insecurities, and selfishness. Both stories have a Puerto Rican flair. For the Martina series, any future stories will contain moral, cultural, or ethical messages with an artistic focus on Puerto Rico or Latino culture. Who knows maybe Martina will visit the great City we all know as Gotham. Stay tuned!


Q:  Do you have plans to write in other genres like young adult? Fiction?

I have been writing a memoir for years, but I am not ready to expose that side of me yet. I wrote a manuscript during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2013. The working title is “Soledad Abandoned” and it is in the redrafting stages at the moment. It is a love story that will be published under a pen name. For November 2014, my NaNoWriMo adventure was writing an urban dystopian novel.


Q:  Tell us about you.  What is your background?  Where did you grow up?  How do you celebrate your Latinidad?

I am the oldest of two. My parents came to the Bronx from Puerto Rico in the 70s and soon after I was born.  When I was five I went to live with my grandparents in Caguas,Puerto Rico. That was the best thing that could have happened to me. I learned Spanish and was immersed in Puerto Rican culture.  The place where I lived was very small and rural; a working class neighborhood with a population of less than 800 people. All the neighbors knew each other and were like family. I came back to the Bronx when I was eight and returned to Puerto Rico when I turned thirteen and back to the Bronx when I was sixteen. I guess you can call that a transient upbringing between two different worlds! 

I celebrate my Latinidad by showing pride in my history and in my writings. I am always proud to say I am Puerto Rican from the Bronx and I am more than happy to educate people on what Puerto Rican culture really looks like. I think we are responsible for breaking the stereotypes that have evolved through our representation in the media and in mainstream literature.


Q:  How can fans find you? Do you have a website? Are you on social media?

I can be found in several places on the web. My website is www.ygtbooks.com and that site has links to other sites that contain information on my work, blog interviews, news articles, and book reviews. I am a goodreads.com author and I do giveaways so be sure to join me as a friend and add my books to your “to be read”shelves. I am on Twitter @gothamesq.

Also, Martina has her own Facebook fan page and a Twitter account. She is at www.facebook.com/martinafindsashinycoin and @martinascoin.  My books are available at La Casa Azul Bookstore, on 103rd and Lexington; through amazon.com, bn.com or directly from my website.###



December 1, 2014

BOOK OF THE MONTH: NUNO by Carlos Aleman (and Giveaway!)

 
 
Fans of Carlos Aleman are in for a Holiday Treat!  We are giving away autographed copies of NUNO to three lucky readers. 
Just leave a comment below or Retweet our social post.  Good luck!--mcf
 
 
 

Aignos Publishing, Dec 2014

 
 
Woman is the only hope for this world, a world that is long-suffering, patient, kind, forgiving, peaceful and loving. What a gift a woman is, absolute proof that God loves us.  But foolish man can't appreciate this because of the ego.--Bernando Bolocco
 
 
 
An ancient river of fallen tears and solitude brings my soul to you. Our two lips touch like fresh and salt water meeting. There is a deep and mysterious power in you. In our dreams or in the spirit world, somewhere between the manifested and unmanifested, there is something that is woven. It is our story. Brief but perfect, it devours all of existence. My love, my love, my love for you. --Nuno
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
Carlos Alemán mixes magical realism and romance with an expert hand to create a vibrant, exhilarating and passionate tale.
 
The protagonist Nuno is an idealistic young man, full of dreams and hopes and love.  But reality and war are evil task masters.  Luckily the love for a good woman helps him endure and transcend pain, suffering, darkness and despair.  This is the type of quixotic hero that readers will always cheer for. 
 
NUNO is the prequel to Alemán's HAPPY THAT IT'S NOT TRUE.  It is the first book of a trilogy /family saga about the Velasco family who leave the Old World (Cuba) for the New World (America).  Book three, DIEGO IN TWO PLACES will be out early 2015.  We can't wait!
 
SUMMARY:  Nuno is a sensitive boy living a poor existence with his melancholy aunt in a war-torn Cuba. There is little joy in their existence until they meet a traveling preacher that changes their lives forever.  Bernando Bolocco confides in Nuno the secrets of the universe, the truth of God -- "woman is the only hope for this world." These words define Nuno's future.  He falls in love with the girl next door, Gabrielle. For her, he steals a book by Bolocco full of the secrets to a woman's heart.  But before the sweethearts can consummate their love, Nuno is off to war.  Gabrielle promises to wait for him and that promise keeps his faith and spirit alive while he is a prisoner. But the years go by and Gabrielle and her family move to America.  Nuno falls into darkness and despair but again it is the memory of their love that saves him and helps him endure all things to come.###
 
 
Read The Latina Book Club's review of HAPPY THAT IT'S NOT TRUE by clicking here.

Read The Latina Book Club's interview with Carlos Alemán by clicking here.

 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Carlos Alemán is the author of NUNO and the soon to be released DIEGO IN TWO PLACES.  His debut work, AS HAPPY AS LING was a finalist in the 2012 International Latino Book Awards. In 2013, the release in paperback of HAPPY THAT IT'S NOT TRUE was named one of the best novels of the year by the Latina Book Club.  He is a judge in the 2014 National Association of Hispanic Publications' José Martí Awards.  Carlos lives in Sunrise, Florida with his wife Jean. Visit him at www.carlosaleman.com.
 
 
 
REMEMBER!  Leave a comment below or Retweet our social post and you might be one of three lucky winners of an autograph copy of NUNO.