Category Archives: Wisdom From Kammbia Column

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 60: Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

What if your family tried to keep their connection to a powerful magic away from you?

What happens when you find out that your family is connected to that magic for years?

Sierra Santiago learns about her family’s connection to a powerful magic in Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, the first book of the Shadowshaper Cypher Series. She is a normal teenager from Brooklyn that loves making art murals and hanging out with her friends.  However, she goes to a party and a corpse was there. Sierra finds out that corpse was not there by accident and is pulled into a world that has family ties.

Sierra gets connected another artist named Robbie and he brings her into the world of the Shadowshapers. Also, her grandfather shows remorse in an unusual manner and Sierra discovers the deep family connection to this magic. With the help of her friends, Sierra faces Wick, an anthropologist that wants to harness the Shadowshaper magic for himself.

Older created an interesting and likable protagonist with Sierra Santiago and provided a excellent setting with Brooklyn that adds a lot to the story.  However, I did not find Wick as a compelling antagonist for Sierra.  I wanted to know more about him and his motivations for pursuing the Shadowshaper magic.  I realized this is the first book of the series and has a lot of room for further development.

I plan to read Shadowhouse Fall and Shadowshaper Legacy to get the full picture of Sierra’s story.  Older has written a love letter to Brooklyn and Boricuan culture that is much needed in contemporary fiction.

 

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 59: How To Be An Artist by Jerry Saltz

Podcasts have become my other favorite platform for content alongside books.  I can listen to a podcast on various subjects and the long form interview from 30 minutes up to 2 hours is an excellent way to go deep on a topic. The Dave Chang Show is one of my favorite podcasts and a regular… Continue Reading

Marion’s Favorites: Albrecht 2015 Pinot Gris

I’ve been wanting to branch out into white wines recently.  I have always preferred red wines (Malbec, Merlot, & Cabernet Sauvignon) over white wines.  However, I heard a recent podcast about wines from the Alsace Region of France and the podcast host recommended that Pinot Gris was a good transition wine for red wine drinkers.… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 58: Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya

One of the great joys of reading fiction is when you get a novel that makes want to read on after you finished it.  There are a lot of novels I have enjoyed reading, but once I close the book or eBook (these days) then I’m done with it.  Well, Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya is… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 57: Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

Signs Preceding The End of The World by Yuri Herrera is the first novel about the US-Mexico Border I can remember reading.  I read Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy years ago but it did not deal directly with the current issues about the border. This book came to my attention during the controversy surrounding the novel… Continue Reading

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Tuesday September 15th begins the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.  Hispanic Culture will be celebrated here in America until October 15th.  Obviously, a month is never a long enough time to honor any ethnic group’s contribution to American society. I will leave that to others who are more qualified than me to write and discuss… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 56: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to not do everything just right. It’s okay to be who you are….imperfections included. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown brings the importance of imperfection home in this book.  I read Brown’s Daring Greatly last month and it was recommend that I read The Gifts of Imperfection… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 55: The Wind That Lays Waste by Selva Almada

I finished Women in Translation Month 2020 with reading The Wind That Lays Waste by Argentinian author Selva Almada. The Wind That Lays Waste tells the story of Reverend Pearson and his daughter Leni traveling through the Argentinian countryside.  Their car breaks down and leads them to a shop owned by an old mechanic, Gringo… Continue Reading