Friday, February 27, 2015

VIVA LA RAZA Book Giveaway - Enter to Win!

7 Books, 7 Winners! Each receiving an autographed book from the following list:

DUE DILIGENCE by Owen Parr - Based on true events. This fictional novel will leave you wondering. DUE DILIGENCE is a fast paced romantic thriller. It will take you on a journey full of intrigue, double crosses, corporate takeovers, money laundering, assassinations and a sinful love affair. Let your imagination wander as you witness the Cuban government's attempt to launder their illicit gains of over forty years utilizing our own Wall Street. Owen has written a unique fictional novel, incorporating his over 27 years with Wall Street companies. Born in Havana, Cuba and later growing up in Miami during the drug-war years, he has woven a tale that will leave you breathless. His creativity and first hand experiences make this a fast paced riveting suspense-filled thriller. You'll ask: could this really happen?

THE LAST PACHUCO by Tony Levario - The story of two men’s quest to find a serial killer in their midst. In 1985 there were over 800 murders in Los Angeles County. Both the LAPD and the Sheriff’s Department were overwhelmed by the significant increase in gang and drug related violence. A serial murderer in their midst was not unique, both departments had worked together to solve the Hillside Strangler murders. The newest string of prostitute murders were unnoticed at first and then given a second-class status even as the two men search for answers. One man, DETECTIVE FRANK ORTEGA, is responding to the requirements of his position as a Sergeant in the Los County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau and his desire to find justice for the victims.

DUENDE by Lizzie Eldridge - That most vital struggle, when touching death is knowing, and truly knowing, life.’ In the years leading up to the Spanish Civil War, two men fall in love, a relationship which, in public, can never be accepted. Throughout their lives, Nayo, an artist, and José, a philosopher, wrestle with the duende, a force propelling passion, authenticity and fearless confrontation with death. Their journey coincides with that of real-life people: Salvador Dalí, Ortega y Gasset and, most significantly, Federico García Lorca who becomes their friend. Nayo and José are part of this wider movement in European art when creativity flourished amidst escalating violence. Provoking parallels with the instability of our contemporary world, Duende unfolds within a complex and vibrant landscape in which survival is paramount while existence is tenuous and forever under threat.

WAYPOINT 90 IN THE CHAMBERS OF THE SEA by Simon Vincent - Prepare to feel and cry. Waypoint 90 offers an in-depth look at the power of redemption through love; a story of passion and romance, of political intrigue and suspense, of friendship and loyalty where the sea plays a pivotal role, drawing the characters, each in their own way, to the Florida Keys to fulfill their destinies. Michael Bean leaves his high-pressured, high profile life and unhappy marriage for a simple life fishing and chartering. After a successful escape from Castro's Cuba, Diana de la Vega brings her son to the place closest to her old life and her jailed husband, caught during his own escape attempt. Diana's son finds a father figure in Michael. And Michael and Diana find each other. Meanwhile, Diana's husband is offered an unexpected chance to escape his island prison. However, Diana must ask Michael's help to send a boat for the man she both dreads and longs to see.

AN IMMIGRANT AMERICAN HERO by Mary De La Pena - The story of Patricio (Tico) de la Fuente, a Mexican immigrant who came to this country during World War II when he was only six years old. Leaving behind a life of wealth, nannies and mayor domos in the mining towns in Chihuahua, Mexico, Tico and his family moved into a garage in East Los Angeles. Accepting their new life of reduced circumstances, Tico’s parents never gave into the idea that their sons were not meant to succeed in life. They insisted that Tico and his brother, Chacho, focus on their education and remain faithful to God and the Catholic Church. It was his faith in God, and strong family values that inspired him throughout his life, so that no matter what the circumstance, this American immigrant hero faced his life with humility, bravery, and laughter.

MISPLACED by Sylvia Wright - Pharaoh Pepy II dies, plunging Egypt into the chaos that history will come to refer to as “70 rulers in 70 days”. On what would have been her coronation day, golden-eyed Khara witnesses the brutal murder of her father by her jealous sister. Knowing that he cannot possibly protect her, Khara’s Nubian guardian sends her far into the future, to the present day of the American Southwest. At first, completely unaware that she has traveled in time, Khara’s initial thought is that she has died and traveled to the Underworld. Luckily, fate places her in the path of Victoria Barron, a dedicated immigration attorney.  Eventually convinced that Khara is who she claims to be, they make plans to return to Egypt in hopes of finding some way to return her to the past.  When her coronation bracelets surface onto the antiquities black market, a disgraced archaeologist, obsessed with finding the source of these undiscovered relics makes the pair suspects in an artifact smuggling ring.  With the borders of Egypt now closed to them, desperation forces Khara to explore a far-fetched scheme in order to claim the throne of Egypt and her pivotal place in history. 

WEST SIDE GIRL AND OTHER POEMS by Lauren Scharhag - Collection of poems written from 2004-2013, exploring themes of womanhood, family, and German-Mexican heritage.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review: HOW TO BE A CHICANA ROLE MODEL by Michele Serros

Michele Serros's work has been called "wonderfully comical and wise" (San Francisco Chronicle) and "pulsating with the exuberance of an unmistakably original poetic talent" (Entertainment Weekly). How to be a Chicana Role Model is the fiercely funny tale of a Chicana writer who's trying to find a way to embrace two very different cultures--without losing touch with who she is.

"A young, sassy writer whose brilliant weapon is her humor."--Sandra Cisneros

"Magnificent...such a voice!"--Dorothy Allison

"Michele Serros writes incredibly robust and witty prose."--Carolyn See

"One of the most distinctive and accomplished Latina voices in literature today."--Estylo

Reviewed by: Sandra
Rating: 5 stars

Review: This is a collection of fiction from a strong, witty, and intelligent chicana writer. In these rules, Michele Serros writes about being a “chicana role model” based on tales and experiences.

Rule #1: “Never Give up an Opportunity to Eat for Free” because, if you do, you never know who you might meet, like a publisher maybe.

With her cynical humor, Serros reminds you “of how detoured a career can go and what a waste a college degree could be [because] everyone knows you’re around just to separate Sweet n’ Low from sugar, take phone messages, or tape off seats in the studio audience.” (27) However, for Serros, “writing granted [her] freedom…it gave voice to all the opinions [she] was too afraid to say out loud for fear of sounding unladylike or babyish by family members, classmates, or stupid neighbor[s].” (41)

I loved this book! This was a true road map for the frustrated and relentless author. Written in a diary-entry format, Serros relives her days as a young aspiring writer from the days she sold books out of her garage to the numerous times she called regarding an honorarium for a gig—a real inspiration for many of us!

As her father used to say, “you know…all the Latinos in this country, heading political offices and creating careers with dishwater hands, but you never hear our stories, see our lives on the big screen.” (71) “Being Mexican, [we grow] up to understand that missing work is bad. Very bad. A Mexican without a strong work ethic? Come on!” (94) Serros’ book is a humorous testament to the hard-working Latinos, the largest minority in the U.S.

Rule #8: “Reclaim your Right as a Citizen of Here, Here”

I saw a lot of myself in this book. Michele’s study abroad experience reminded me of my own. Getting lost on the way to a live reading has never been unusual for me. Been there, done that, still doing it!

This book is just an open and honest account from the Mexican-American writer with the Indian-looking nose. A must read!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


**Currently, we are OPEN for submissions**

Thank you for your interest in having us review your book for our Latina Book Club.

In order for us to consider your book, it must meet one of the qualifications:

a. Must be about a Latina/o or have a Latino theme

b. Must be written for a Latina/o

c. Must be written by a Latina/o

Our club focuses primarily on Latino literature.
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We reserve the right to refuse any work that may not suit our specifications or interests.
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Review: VIDA by Patricia Engel

Fresh, accomplished, and fearless, Vida marks the debut of Patricia Engel, a young author of immense talent and promise. Vida follows a single narrator, Sabina, as she navigates her shifting identity as a daughter of the Colombian diaspora and struggles to find her place within and beyond the net of her strong, protective, but embattled family.

In “Lucho,” Sabina’s family—already “foreigners in a town of blancos”—is shunned by the community when a relative commits an unspeakable act of violence, but she is in turn befriended by the town bad boy who has a secret of his own; in “Desaliento,” Sabina surrounds herself with other young drifters who spend their time looking for love and then fleeing from it—until reality catches up with one of them; and in “Vida,” the urgency of Sabina’s self-imposed exile in Miami fades when she meets an enigmatic Colombian woman with a tragic past.

Patricia Engel maps landscapes both actual and interior in this stunning debut, and the constant throughout is Sabina—serious, witty, alternately cautious and reckless, open to transformation yet skeptical of its lasting power. Infused by a hard-won, edgy wisdom, Vida introduces a sensational new literary voice.
Reviewed by: Sandra
Rating: 4 stars

Review: Patricia Engel’s debut book was wonderful. Her main character, Sabina, was smart, witty, and real; she often referred to herself as a “late bloomer.”

These are stories of a girl’s coming-of-age from childhood to adulthood (although not necessarily in that order) that trek through the hurdles revolving her family, friends, neighbors, and her ethnic identity.

Living in a community shunned by “blancos” makes life a little lonely for Sabina in “Lucho.” In “Refuge,” Sabina must hide from the wreckage of the 9/11 aftermath while pondering the fact that she “cheated,” that she should’ve been in that building with all those victims if she had only gone to work that day. And, in “Vida,” Sabina befriends a prostitute that she can’t help but be fascinated by.

Full of vivid and lively descriptions like “your skin looks like diarrhea.” (47) I couldn’t help but laugh at that one. “Death is a huge aphrodisiac.” (35) Interesting how you always want people when they’re dead –they are the “ungettable” get.

Engel has a way of engaging the reader with her candid humor and elegant prose. Her unique writing style of broken sentences was so oddly poetic –yet it all seemed to work.