1) Death Stalks the Young Pistolero – Robert J. Alvarado
This is the third book of the series ‘Young Pistolero’ and it delivers on point. The first book is titled The Young Pistolero, and the second book is titled Star of the Young Pistolero. The saga continues with the third book as Rafael Ortega de Estrada, known by all as Rafe, rescues his family from Torreón, Mexico and brings them to live with him in New Mexico. In the first book, Rafe shoots don Bernardo Reyes who has raped his sister and escapes taking a prize horse as he flees. Rafe encounters a white man that is left to die and saves the man’s life. The man takes Rafe as his son and this creates a whole new life for both men. The second book continues with a gun battle where Rafe loses his beloved, Chiwiwi. He must also return to save his mother and sister from Bernardo Reyes who still resides at the hacienda. In the third book, Death Stalks the Young Pistolero, Rafe has settled in New Mexico and resumes his family life. He is smitten with a young girl by the name of Ana Teresa; however, there is another bachelor who is an aristocrat and is vying for her hand in marriage. In addition, a gunslinger is looking for Rafe. Rafe has murdered the man’s brother. The author writes so skillfully that each book keeps you on the edge trying to figure out what will happen next. You can’t read fast enough to get to the next chapter to see the outcome. I would highly recommend reading all the series. This is just an amazing writer and a really great story overall. Would love to see it on the screen one day.
2) A Fighting Chance – Claudia Meléndez Salinas
This is the story of seventeen year old Miguel Angel working to achieve his dream of becoming a prize boxer to save his family from poverty and their one bedroom apartment located in the barrio of Salinas, California. Boxing is also a way for Miguel Angel to avoid the gangbangers that straddle the neighborhood with their culture and violence. The city is threatening to take the Packing Shed away eliminating a place for training, thus changing his life. To complicate matters, Miguel Angel is falling for a blonde girl named Britney and who comes from an upper middleclass family and also likes Miguel Angel. His best friend Beto is drawn to the gang life and Miguel Angel is torn between that friendship and what it entails. This is a really good book for young adults; although, it also makes a good read for adults in general.
3) Franzisca’s Box – Sandra Perez Gluschankoff
The author has skillfully combined mystery, murder, and passionate love all into a story that will keep tugging at you for a long time. In the book, Sofia Lazar, a movie producer, experiences the loss of her grandmother but also comes into contact with a tattered box. What’s in the box? I won’t spoil the story for you; however, I will tell you that the contents of the box will take you on a journey you didn’t expect. The story is back dropped into World War II Romania and Nazi criminals immigrating to South America. What a magnificent weave of story, history, and plot. This is definitely a book to read.
4) Black Widow Bitches – Victor Cass
The author has masterfully depicted American women in combat readiness against future terrorists in a World War III setting. The story will take the reader across the globe depicting graphic war scenes, yet letting the reader identify with each of the characters emotions and fears as they go into battle. It’s not a book for the faint of heart for sure. All this takes place under the leadership of Elias Marin who is willing to train and fight alongside these female heroines. This should definitely be a book to put on your bucket list.
5) The Sorrows of Young Alfonso – Rudolfo Anaya
Rudolfo Anaya has done it again! He has created a book that pushes the reader to enter the abstract world of literature. It is the story of Alfonso, a Nuevo Mexicano, who is delivered haunting words by the curandera Agapita into his ear as he enters the world. The book moves the reader through Alfonso’s world as a young adult and through his adulthood. The story is filled with truths and mysteries of life and can only be written by one of the greatest writers within our midst, Rudolfo Anaya. Mr. Anaya tells Alfonso’s story through a childhood friend who is an anonymous narrator using a set of letters by a mysterious person named K. This is a very intriguing and interesting approach and if you like abstract literature, then this is the book for you.
6) The Mexican Flyboy – Alfredo Vea
If you like to read about time travel, then you will love this book. This is the story about a character named Simon Vegas who struggles to repair a time machine that came his way while in Vietnam. The machine is used to fly through time and wherever acts of human cruelty occur, the machine allows Mr. Vegas to take all the suffering away. It’s an interesting concept and makes for a great read. It is pure science fiction and the author does a fantastic job of blending history, comic-book fantasy, and magical realism into an entertaining story. A fun read.
7) Sángre,The Color of Dying – Carlos Colón
If you like Vampire-type novels with a little twist then this is one for your bookshelf. It’s the story of a guy named Nicky Negrón, a Puerto Rican salesman. His life is cut short due to an unforeseen event at the Ritz-Carlton, which results in a public sex scandal for his surviving family. He arises from the dead and becomes a night predator with a genetic resistance to retain his humanity; however, his target audience is limited to the undesirables of society such as sexual predators and domestic abusers and people of this sort. All the time this is happening he still values his family life and struggles to maintain this normalcy somehow. A fun read.
8) On the Run – Izai Amorim
This is the story of a young and well educated Central American man who is running from Columbian drug dealers and the police. They all believe he has committed some heinous crimes, but in actuality he has not. He has to survive and eventually gets caught up in the drug trade. It is a story of survival but also self discovery. The story is funny at times and yet it incorporates a twisted view of the world and its beliefs. A good read.
9) …Y no se lo tragó la tierra (…and the earth did not devour him) – Tomá Rivera
This author was born in 1935 and died suddenly in 1984, but his writing lives on. Mr. Rivera’s classic novel about the experiences of migrant workers is riveting. His writing captures the essence of this life through the eyes of a young boy. The stories will make you shudder, feel sadness, feel anger, feel there is no justice, and yet you can’t put the book down. It is a short book, but it packs a powerful punch. This book left me thinking about life long after I read it. It made me ponder on why and how we treat our fellow man and it clearly defines the life of the have-nots. I can’t emphasize enough that this book is a must read not just for Latinos, but for humanity overall. It does not matter what ethnicity you claim. I loved, loved, loved the book!
10) Tales from Alturas: The Puerto Rican Mystique – Emma Chaves
If this is the author’s first book, it’s pretty impressive. The book is a compilation of 10 short stories that encompass the lives and stories of people in the Island of Puerto Rico, but each packs a punch. The author captures the everyday life of Puerto Rico from the early to mid 1900’s. The stories contain characters that will entice you and include such plots as sex, rage, anger, rape and so much more. With each page the characters will slowly draw you into their world and that is a testament to a skilled writer. I can’t believe that this is a first book for the author. Another must read.
Be sure to check out our previous year’s top 10 lists by clicking here.